New year, new teachers

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New Teacher Dr. Frank Veteri teaches all sections of sophomore year history, including World History II and AP European History. Anna Phillips ’15

While many members of the Convent of the Sacred Heart community are focused on the new classrooms and televisions, there are other new aspects of the school this year, namely the new members of the faculty and staff.
This year, Sacred Heart has welcomed eight new faculty members into its community, five of whom have positions in the Upper School. These new members, whose positions range from learning specialist to Arabic teacher, are gradually learning to adjust to the close-knit community.
“The transition is by no means easy. Whenever we change jobs, we have to adapt to a new environment and a new culture. It is like starting all over again,” Upper School math teacher Mr. Kenneth Leong said.
Mr. Leong, who just recently began his position teaching primarily juniors and seniors, is not new to the teaching world. In fact, he has had ten years of teaching experience, most of which was at the college level. While he did say the transition to Sacred Heart has been going relatively smoothly, it has presented difficulties.
“Most of my struggles have to do with learning about the new culture and the new expectations. It is difficult to know these things in advance.  It is almost like moving to a different country. But I am learning and adjusting quickly,” Mr. Leong said.
For Dr. Cristina Baptista, her current position as junior American Literature teacher is her first job teaching in a high school. While she has had many teaching positions, including a classroom learning assistant at Sacred Heart University, a kindergarten special education tutor at Elizabeth Green Elementary School, and, most recently, a professor at Fordham University; her previous experiences differ quite greatly from teaching Sacred Heart, according to Dr. Baptista.
“Because my background is otherwise so ensconced in a college or university atmosphere, one where there was not so much routine, meetings, scheduling, and even paperwork, getting accustomed to the nitty-gritty has been a surprising challenge, but it’s going well,” Dr. Baptista said.
Despite the sudden change in atmosphere and routine, Dr. Baptista is enjoying her time here, and says that the students and teachers at Sacred Heart have helped make the transition as smooth as possible.
“Surprisingly, the transition was a lot more fluid than I could have hoped.  Despite feeling like I had a lot of balls up in the air when I began here, I think I’m still managing to juggle things as best as possible, and feeling relatively content about that,” Dr. Baptista said. “Everyone at CSH—students, faculty, and staff alike—make transitioning into their ‘home’ delightfully easy.”
Mrs. Catherine Butler, who just began her position as the Upper School learning specialist, also agrees that the Sacred Heart students have helped make the adjustment to Sacred Heart quite easy. For the last seven years, Mrs. Butler has taught at School of the Holy Child in Rye, New York.
“The girls here at CSH are motivated to do their best and willing to seek help when they need it.  This makes my work enjoyable,” Mrs. Butler said.

New teacher Dr. Frank Veteri teaches all sections of sophomore year history, including World History II and AP European History.
Anna Phillips ’15

Contrary to other new faculty members, sophomore history teacher Dr. Frank Veteri may be new to Sacred Heart, but has been teaching for over 30 years. His experiences are in both high schools and colleges. Although Dr. Veteri is only here for the first half of the year, he is currently teaching World History II and AP European History. He has taught both subjects previously, which has helped make his transition more manageable.
“I think Dr. Veteri came into this expecting us to be a higher caliber of student and that is exactly what he got. He says he wanted to come back to high school and that he is enjoying it here,” sophomore Emily Casper said. “I like that he has so much knowledge because he has been teaching for so long.”
Since a number of the current faculty and staff have been at Sacred Heart for many years, students are used to having teachers that are familiar with the school. Therefore, the students must also adjust to these new teachers.
“I love having new teachers because they bring new ideas, and new ways to make learning fun,” junior Angela Jaramillo said. “Although my new teachers were nervous in the beginning, I have noticed now after a couple weeks that they are starting to blend in perfectly into the Sacred Heart community.”
Sacred Heart does take pride in its traditions, but according to the new faculty, as well as the students, having new members welcomed into the community creates a very positive change. The new teachers are gradually integrating into the unique environment.
“It’s always comforting to know a bit more about the upcoming school year. But at the same time, it’s even more exciting to have a new teacher for the first time. It’s just a whole new experience to both CSH, and yourself,” sophmore Miranda Falk said.
 
– Anna Phillips, Staff Writer