The Department Competition

Imagine a department at Staples that is hard-working, extremely organized, well-prepared. Maybe even awesome, cool, and the best in the country.

That would be the math department, according to various members interviewed recently.

“We tend to have everything in order and know where to find everything,” explained Kerrigan Warnock, who teaches geometry. “We joke that a lot of us are OCD.”

In any case, math teachers argue that that what makes their department special is the closeness of their offices to one another.

According to Mr. Kissinger, “Even when there are disagreements, we can resolve them in a polite and respectful way,” said Theron Kissinger, who teaches pre-Calc, geometry and algebra. “And as a result, we learn and grow from the discussions.”

Of course, there are always adjustments that could be made.“I polled the math department. They want a masseuse,” Warnock said.

Science, the next major departments at Staples, is its own special domain. According to biology teacher Matt Filip, it’s enlightened.

“We were nerds before nerds were cool,” Filip said.

They’re so nerdy, he joked, that they wear safety goggles at annual holiday parties, and during lunch, they have breakdancing competitions in the prep room.

And yet, like the other departments, science, too has its issues.

“Chemistry smells. I’d rather not be near it,” Mr. Filip said.

The Social Studies department’s claim to fame is a little different. Teachers there pride themselves on their fun and energetic atmosphere and say they’re the most upbeat department.

Teachers there say they love “Bagel Friday,” one of many traditions in that deparment. Then there’s Secret Santa, Downton Abbey discussions (during which they pretend to be British by drinking tea and eating crumpets), and Birthday Buddies, who celebrate with cards, cakes, and balloons.

But one thing they don’t have? Doors.

According to department secretary Fran Evan, there’s an upside: the absence of doors between offices within the department is “ a significant factor to the good friendships and the interactions that all the teachers have.”

Evan is also secretary to the English department, which puts her in a unique position to compare the two groups. She joked that aside from its messy conference room, Social Studies is closer — and maybe better.

Obviously, teachers in the English Department do not agree.

“We are the best department because we work with the best subject matter,” said Alex Miller, who teaches every grade but sophomores. “How often do you see someone reading a Math or Social Studies textbook at the beach? Everyone loves a good story.”

And according to Miller, the English department includes an assortment of characters with different types of humor, which means there’s never a dull moment.

Although there was a Secret Snowflake exchange, get-togethers are really outside of school, unlike the Social Studies department.