The 0.6 mile walk between the Old Lincoln School (OLS) and 115 Greenough represents much more than the loss of a few minutes each day for the 22 teachers commuting. They leave one world and enter a new one.
The commute allows teachers to interact with more students and other faculty in the day and has seemed to flow smoother than expected, though there have still been obstacles and disadvantages.
English teacher Evan Mousseau teaches at the high school in the morning and OLS in the afternoon. Thus, he can only meet with his senior students before school most days.
“One of the challenges I’ve found is that I can’t realistically spend a few minutes checking in with students at the end of class because I have to quickly grab my things in my office and hustle over there,” Mousseau said.
Science teacher Tyler Wooley-Brown, who teaches both Physics I and AP Physics C, has had to change his schedule to create meeting times with students between both campuses.
“For the AP kids, I’m at the other campus during H-block, T-block and in the morning, and that’s the time they would get help. This year I’m staying after school a lot more than I would normally,” Wooley-Brown said.
Both Mousseau and Wooley-Brown noted that teachers working at OLS rarely see those only working at the main campus and vice versa. Teachers commuting get to see both yet are unable to fully immerse into either campus.
“ are all much more isolated from the main campus, so the physics teachers over there miss their friends who aren’t physics teachers here. It’s lonely,” Wooley-Brown said. “I’m doing a lot by myself, and since physics is a really collaborative group, that’s a problem for us.”
Despite these issues, Japanese teacher Fukiko Shapiro said that some teachers have found that the walk provides a relaxing break in their busy days.
“I think people are enjoying the commute, including myself. It’s a better situation than I thought it would be,” Shapiro said.
According to Mousseau, this duality of campuses also allows teachers to stay involved in both communities.
“I like that I’ve gotten to stay a part of both worlds,” Mousseau said. “I’ve gotten to hold on to a lot of things that are very important to me over here, but I still get to take a role in sort of shaping this separate 9th grade world.”
According to Wooley-Brown, teachers commuting have an important relationship with students from both campuses. This mixture of classes creates diversity in students and seems to be beneficial for both teachers and students.
“I like that I continue to be able to teach seniors. I like being able to teach both because it divvies up my day a little more,” Wooley-Brown said.
Senior Maya Leschly, a student in Wooley-Brown’s AP Physics class, explained the benefits of teaching multiple grades as well.
“I think the benefit of teaching both freshman and AP senior classes is that he gets continuity with his students. I know there are a couple of students in my class that he had freshman year, and I think that it’s really great when you’re able to have a teacher at both the beginning and end of your time with science at BHS,” Leschly said.
For Mousseau, the positives of the commute outweigh the negatives, especially in their effect on the freshman class.
“I think that moving back and forth and seeing what they can expect it to be next year is really important and really beneficial. This sort of in-between where there’s more support for freshmen makes the transition to the high school a little bit easier,” Mousseau said. “It’s easier to find a student who’s having trouble across a couple classes and meet with them. We’re working a little more closely together this year just by virtue of being in the same hallway across four rooms together at OLS, which is really great.”