By Ava Simunovic ’20

As June 22 nears, the end of school rituals commence. Students grudgingly begin cramming for exams, lunch accounts become negative and teachers squeeze a month’s worth of content into two days. But behind this chaotic exterior lies the bittersweetness that comes with school ending- the goodbyes. For some students this can be seen as the highlight of their year, saying farewell to the teachers that appeared in their nightmares and bombarded them with constant work, but for most, it’s hard to say goodbye to the role models who have become such prevalent people in their lives. This bittersweet end will be especially difficult for students who had the opportunity to be taught by English teacher Samantha Ginzberg.

On June 26, Ginzberg will make her way to Barcelona, Spain, where she will be teaching grade 10 students at the American School of Barcelona. Similarly to her current job at Staples, Ginzberg will teach students reading, writing and English literature.

Ginzberg got wind of a program called Search Associates that essentially works to place teachers in international schools. Upon being accepted, she had to create an extensive profile and attend a job fair held in January.

“At this job fair there were hundreds of schools represented from all the different countries of the world and you go through this interview process,” Ginzberg said. “So when I went in I had no idea that it would be Barcelona, I went in with a completely open mind.”

Ginzberg’s teaching position at Staples was her first job directly out of college. She hopes that from her experience she will be able to gain new work perspectives and understand what it feels like to teach in a different community. Moreover, Ginzberg is excited to venture out of her comfort zone and dive into a new experience.

“I’m really looking forward to having a personal adventure. I have always wanted to travel, but I never did anything past a college summer and now I’m really anxious to see more of Europe and kind of live more serendipitously,” Ginzberg said.

Through this program, she will be able to live in Barcelona for a minimum of two years, while also being able to travel through Europe on class trips and personal excursions.

Ginzberg commends her trip to Singapore last summer, taken with Staples students, for giving her the push to try out a program like Search Associates. She realized that she had been directed on the conventional track: graduate high school, go to a good college and immediately get a job. However, she craved something different and this trip opened her eyes to that.

“What I learned talking to teachers from other countries is that a lot of young people take a gap year, or they take some time to go backpacking or they just do something that is personal and spiritual and it’s completely for themselves and it’s before they settle down and start working,” Ginzberg said. “I really considered that as a perspective, and I hadn’t before I went on that trip. So that kind of sparked the wanderlust.”

While she looks forward to the adventure that awaits her in Barcelona, she will greatly miss Staples and the environment it encapsulates. “It’s so bittersweet because I love working here, and when I got hired it really, truly was/is my dream job. I really enjoy serving this community,” Ginzberg said.

But she will not be the only one who has trouble saying goodbye; her students from this year and previous years will dread the same moment.

“She was a great teacher who really enjoyed her class and cared for her students,” Annie Amacker ’18 said. “I loved her class because of her energy and positivity.”

Tamikha Boyer ’20 also praises Ginzberg for all of her hard work and her constant involvement in the classroom. “I’m really sad. She was the best teacher I ever had,” Boyer said. “She is really sweet and really cares about her students.”

Ginzberg will miss all of the people she had the chance to work with and teach.

“I have really formed close bonds with a lot of students here and I feel the staff, especially in the English department, are like family. We have gone through tragedy together, we have gone through success and joy together,” she said.

Although this transition is a little nostalgic, Ginzberg is excited to begin this new chapter of her life and eager to see what is to come.  

“I’m going to miss the people, but I know that taking time for myself to go travel is only going to better me as a person,” Ginzberg said. “And should I come back to Connecticut one day and reconnect with people, students and teachers alike, it will be so worthwhile.”

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