Leaving teachers

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Just like that, 10 months seem to have gone by in a blink of an eye. Now, as the school year winds down, only a few days remain before it is time to say goodbye to not only our seniors, but also to some of our well-loved teachers and administrators.

English teacher and Howler adviser Tim Horrigan has been a part of the Northwood family almost since the school opened in 1999. Although he is ready to embark on a new journey, the memories and friendships he made at Northwood are not going anywhere.

“I believe you can’t reach students as a teacher unless you have some sort of connection,” Horrigan said. “More often than not, a connection is forged in those moments when you’re just joking around with the students before class, after class and a quiet moment in class when you walk over to someone and good-naturedly punch them in the arm: just those little things that I remember as a student myself meaning so much.”

While teachers like Horrigan do great work inside the classroom, Northwood assistant principal Saul Gleser has working hard behind the scenes helping run the school the past eight years. He has encouraged the creation of new programs like F.O.R.C.E and events like State of the Student to improve student life and wellbeing. As he looks to the future, he hopes Northwood will continue upholding the philosophies he leaves behind.

“This world is huge and amazing, and if you don’t get out and discover it, you’re really gonna miss out on personal happiness, which I think sometimes we undervalue here,” Gleser said. “It’s okay to be content with being happy. It’s not a bad thing. Life should not be a race to get anywhere.”

As for Northwood’s teachers, getting to work with students and helping them grow has been an enormously rewarding mission for them to accomplish. Much of the burden of leaving Northwood will be saying goodbye to the group of kids they spent learning from and laughing with.

“When I was in the classroom teaching, I was energized and happy,” Horrigan said. “Before I became a teacher, I had a very isolating career as a music producer. Northwood required me to open myself up emotionally to 183 kids every year; it absolutely changed me as a person.”

For a student staying late at school to practice a sport or rehearse for a concert far after everyone has left, it may seem like nobody’s watching. But our teachers do notice, and those leaving us will miss the work ethic so many Northwood students exhibits.

“I look at all the things that students are doing,” Gleser said. “You can come here from 7 a.m. until about 10 p.m. and there’s always something going on.”

After having spent many years at Northwood, the staff and students have all been able to grow and learn from one another. For those who are leaving, the hardest part may be finally eschewing the rhythm of school and moving on.

“I know if I continued teaching next year, I could do it better,” Horrigan said. “If I came back for another year, two more years, I would be able to reach more kids and get better and better. I will miss having the constant opportunity to become a better teacher.”

With all the time spent on Northwood’s campus throughout the year, the staff and students have become a second family for the leaving faculty. Having become so accustomed to daily life at Northwood, Glesser said that parting with the students is going to be difficult.

“This is home. This is family. This is who you hang out with, who you fight with, who you disagree with, who you laugh with,” Gleser said. “When you’re with a group for this long, you get to really know them and develop a sense of comfort with them.”

Coping with this change may be challenging for our school, but in the meantime there are countless of other opportunities calling their names.

“It’s really uprooting a big part of my life; not just the staff that I’ve worked with but also the students I’ve gotten to know,” Gleser said. “I know it’s going to shake my foundations, but I’m excited to meet my next family and whatever else is down the road.”