The Secret Life of an American Teacher 2.0

When students get home from school, you can’t expect anything else than your mom asking how their day was. A typical response would be something along the lines of, “all that my teachers do is give out more homework, and more tests, and more papers, and more projects…” However, this is far from true. Believe it or not, teachers have lives too.

 

A Dog’s Best Friend: Carol Avery

Carol Avery begins her day with a history classroom filled with students, where she comes back home to a new audience: a house full of animals.

Avery has a position as an adjunct at the  University of Connecticut. She claims that she “teaches when she isn’t teaching;” however, with  little time to think about her accomplishments in the past, she can easily disprove that statement.

Avery has a burning passion for animals, which is why she lives with “a houseful of four legged beasts who always need my attention.”  Her corgi, Bernice,  is the newest edition to her family.

Keeping her dogs company, are two two cats that she lives and breathes for. Avery would love to come home to spend time with her pets and sit down on the couch with her new Steven Pinkers book, which is 800 pages, but should be a breeze for her.

Along with her passion for reading and animals, Avery has visited more countries than most individuals.  Some locations include, Ghana, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Aruba, Argentina, Spain, and her absolute favorite, Italy, where she has visited three times.

“The plane just keeps ending up in Italy,” said Avery.

To many a surprise, Avery began her world wide traveling experience with a fear of flying. She realized that if she wanted to continue her adventures and fulfill her goals her fear had to be taken out of the picture.

 

Kristin Simonsen: The Teacher With an Athlete’s Heart

Science teacher, Kristin Simonsen refuses to eat anything blue, is afraid of clowns, birds and unfinished wood.

Even greater than this is the fact that when it comes to athletic training, Simonsen is a superhero.

Simonsen bike rides 25 to 30 miles every Sunday, runs around 10 miles on the weekend and participates in indoor rock climbing every Thursday night.

And as if this wasn’t enough already, she plans on starting swim training so she can participate in a triathlon. And she’s also the Girls Cross Country Coach.

Previously, Simonsen committed to coach all three track seasons; however she soon realized she had to pick the best one because there was no room for all of this on top of teaching Chemistry.

“Cross country, in my opinion, is the best season.  Everyone runs the same distance, the team is small and very close, it’s a more pure sport where every race brings its unique terrain and weather. It’s where I feel I have the most impact,” said Simonsen.

Simonsen and her husband plan to run a half marathon relay in Disney in January. She and her husband both train together for this. Other than her passion for running, her impetus towards this race is that the race is in honor of Simonsen’s sister-in-law who passed.

One may wonder how even a superhero has this much time for everything, but Simonsen manages.

“As my kids get older, I can do more.” she said.

To calm her down and counterbalance everything, she adds a yoga class to her plate.

To anyone not superhero-like, this may seem preposterous; but with Simonsen’s superpowers, running, biking, swimming, climbing, grading papers, and coaching, she still manages to stay sane.

“If I wasn’t competing regularly, I’d probably be impossible to deal with in other areas of my life.  I’d be cutting people off while walking in the hallways and challenging random people to races in the mall. It’s a necessary healthy outlet for me,” said Simonsen.

 

Christine Radler: Staples’ own Horse Whisperer

Christine Radler is one of the few English teachers who spends her day at the barn, not on her comfy couch reading “War and Peace”.

After intensely grading numerous AP Language Memoir Papers, Radler makes daily trips up to Hidden Acres Farm located in Naugatuck, Conn. There, she passionately practices her riding skills and studies natural horsemanship, which includes trying to detect the language of the horses and what they are doing.

Radler interacts with the horses by paying close attention to their ears, head, neck and tail movements and showing of teeth and hip movements because those are indicators of fear, submission, threats and companionship to members of the herd.

Radler mentions that the goal of natural horsemanship is to become the “leader of the herd of two,” or in other words, the human and the horse.

“Some refer to me as a horse whisperer,” said Radler.

Even though Radler has been doing this for years, she still considers herself a beginner because there is so much to learn.

There is no question that Radler describes herself as fearless, as she is able to ride and take care of horses worry-free, and is still not afraid of the pile of papers sitting at home.