By Levi Livengood
Each new School-Year is met with the groans of many of the returning students and even teachers, but how do our new teachers and counselors feel? What are their initial impressions of Independence?
“Usually we get about four to five new teachers per year,” said Mr. Paul Landshof, the Associate Principal of Educational Development (APED) here at Independence. This year there are five new teachers and one new counselor at the school. Some of the teachers still have yet to process in, but a few have already.
“I am really enjoying Independence so far, even though I am a former Piedmont Hills Pirate,” says Ms. Lissenia Marquez, our new counselor this year, serving the students at the school whose last names begin with S, T, U, and V. “The staff is amazing, just the amount of classes the variety of classes have been way different than Piedmont. It’s a great school,” she says, “Like the Auto-shop, I was definitely blown away at the different types of programs, how AVID works, even the carpentry class. There’s no comparison, this is its own school and culture. It’s great.”
When asked what her favorite part about the school’s culture, she said, “I love the diversity. The diversity of the students, I like that it’s not just one particular ethnicity. I like working with all different backgrounds of students and cultures and interests, and that’s why I think it works so well.”
When asked about what she does in her free time, she says, “I’m a huge sports fan. My boyfriend and I are big sports fans. I’m a huge hockey fan, I actually work for the San Jose Sharks. A few times out of the month, I’ll work events, Sharks games, concerts. We go to Warriors games and Giants games. Sports, sports, sports, a lot of sports!”
When asked about her background, she says, “I’ve actually been at East Side for nine--plus years. I started off as a sub back in 2009. I’ve been working with High School students since then. My bachelor’s degree is in Broadcast-Journalism. Somehow I knew I wasn’t going to go into that field because it took me away from my family and friends”.
Continuing, she says, “I had some family members and some friends here at East Side who said, ‘Hey, I think that you would be a great teacher! Why don’t you try teaching or and subbing first?’. So I did up until I felt that I worked really well with students and I decided that teaching isn’t for me,’ I think I want to try being a counselor’. So I took that route to get my master’s degree, meanwhile I was still subbing. And now, here I am! I finally made it!”
Her favorite subject to teach, while still a sub, was P.E., because “I felt like I could actually do physical education with the students. So when they had to run four miles, I would say, ’Hey, I can run four miles with you guys--or a mile’, and I felt like that really helped motivate and support students.”
“And that’s kind of like my role now: ‘Look I’m here to support you, to motivate you, I really want you to succeed and move onto whatever future endeavors you want to get to. Whether that be vocational or four year college, let’s see what our options are for you’.”
Her advice for aspiring teachers and counselors is as follows:
“It’s hard work. Some people look at it as, ‘what do counselors really do?,’ and even teachers too, ‘You only work so much time in the year!’ But there’s a lot of work that’s involved, and a lot of everything.”
“It’s hard work, but I love it. That was my trial, the nine-plus years of subbing and figuring out that the teacher route isn’t for me. But on the counseling route, time flies for me when I am here. Not just because I am busy, but I enjoy doing, and finally figuring out what I wanted to do.”
“It may take a while to find out what your true passion is, but never give up. It’s trial and error. When your job is fun and time flies, that means something is going right.”