The Student News Site of Wachusett Regional High School

Wachusett Echo

The Student News Site of Wachusett Regional High School

Wachusett Echo

The Student News Site of Wachusett Regional High School

Wachusett Echo

Mrs. Teevens

James Ryan

Mrs Teevens has been a physical education teacher at Wachusett for the last ten years.

How long have you been a teacher? A teacher at WRHS?

I have been teaching for about 30 years now. I began my teaching career at Wellesley College as a part-time faculty member and I was there for 15 years. I worked in their athletic dept and P.E. dept and taught classes like hip-hop dance and step aerobics. While at Wellesley, I also taught for 5 years at Bancroft which is a private school in Worcester. I began in the Wachusett district in Dec of 2010 over at the ‘old’ Mountview school and then started at Wachusett in the Fall of 2013.

Who or what inspired you to become a teacher?

My 6th grade History teacher, Mr. Frank Mero. I was overweight and at that fragile age, I was also extremely self-conscious but Mr. Mero was so kind and always made me feel special and important in his class. Oddly, I never felt self-conscious in P.E. because, despite my size, I was athletic. Feeling like an outsider during the day, combined with my athletic ability is what made me ultimately choose to become a Physical Education teacher.

Are you involved in any other additional activities at the school or in the community?

I am very involved in the Wachusett Community. I work for Ms. Lynch in the Athletic Dept. and I am present at most home games of all different sports. I am hired as security to make sure the student fan section is behaving while taking care of any problems that may arise. Since the Fall of 2015, I have volunteered my time as the liaison between The Badlands and the Administration. In other words, if the leader of the Badlands asks permission to do something, I can either say ‘no’ (if I think it’s a ridiculous request), or I can run it by Mr. Pratt or Ms. Lynch to make sure it’s ok. We meet every few weeks to discuss our plans for each game where the Badlands will be present. I am also the Winter Strength & Conditioning Coach for any Wachusett student or athlete interested in working out after school in the weight room.

What is your favorite topic to teach?

As a P.E. teacher, my favorite unit or activity to teach is gymnastics for my freshmen classes because as intimidating as it sounds to them, they end up bonding with each other for support and really letting go while laughing and having fun! For my juniors and seniors, it would be volleyball because it’s always a very competitive environment with a lot of excitement! Volleyball is also the activity that most students will ask: “Is class over already???”

What is your least favorite thing about being a teacher?

This is a tricky question. Honestly, there are a lot of daily stressors and requirements that students do not realize teachers experience. You are expected to be ‘on’ every single moment of every single day. You are also expected to be happy, helpful, patient, understanding, empathetic, accommodating, and countless other adjectives that describe a SuperHero to the SuperHeros! There are no other jobs where a person must wear so many hats throughout the day so I would say my least favorite thing about teaching is the unrealistic expectation of trying to please so many people, with extremely different needs, all at the same time.

What is the most important life lesson you teach? Or what is a piece of advice you would give to your students?

I tell students that high school is nothing more than a practice of your future self/life. If you’re always late to school, you will always be late in life. If you walk into a classroom with a bad attitude, you are almost always guaranteed a poor experience and outcome, just as you would be if responding to a challenging life situation with a defeatist attitude. I always remind students to certainly have fun and enjoy every moment of their very short ride through high school, but also practice resiliency and other good habits that will move you in the direction of the life-goals you’ve set for yourself after graduation.

What is a piece of advice you would give to your students?

Regardless of your own dreams, choose first to be a good human being by genuinely saying you’re sorry when you’ve hurt someone, humbly accept the consequences of your own actions, and most importantly, gratefully thank the adult(s) in your life who have sacrificed, helped, guided, and cared for you when you really needed it most! Go ahead…thank your teacher(s) and/or your parents/guardians right now. Let them know how much they are appreciated!

What is one thing you would tell new teachers/want them to know?

I would want them to know that this profession will always be challenging and although the rewarding moments are sometimes few and far between, knowing you’ve helped a student or maybe even changed his/her life for the better will always overshadow the ugly underbelly of teaching.

What do you think is an important thing for all teachers to keep in mind?

When a student is unhappy with you as a teacher, there will always be another student standing by who will say you changed their life for the better! Work harder to reach the student you have inadvertently let down, and continue to support the one who is thankful for you.

What do you think makes you a good teacher?

I think you have to first build trust which will ultimately create mutual respect. Just as teachers want to be treated kindly and with respect, so do students; they need to know that you genuinely care about them and want to hear what they have to say. I work very hard to build a rapport with my students so we can speak more openly and honestly. Some students have told me it takes them a while to adjust to my ‘straight-shooter delivery’ but eventually, they figure out I’m really just a softie who requires at least a semblance of organized chaos!

What is your funniest teaching story?

When I worked at Mountview, my office was in the Boy’s Locker Room (yes, you read that correctly) and although I obviously could not see into the changing area, I could hear the Middle School boys talking and I overheard things that cannot be shared until I retire but I laughed a lot by myself in that office!

What is a random fact about you that would surprise most students?

I think a few of these facts have passed down through the years, but I shamelessly use the first one when I need some street cred!

1. I went to college with Michael Jordan and I have a picture with him.
2. I like to watch and read true crime stories.
3. I’m crazy in love with Freddie Mercury, the legendary frontman of the British 70’s/80’s glam rock band, Queen. Even though he’s been dead for almost 32 years, my love endures! Come to my office anytime for a tour of my Freddie Mercury Museum

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