Being new to anything is a challenging experience. It is always going to take time to get used to an environment that is new to you and everyone adjusts at a different rate. This year, the KO community welcomed both new students and teachers.
I asked three new Middle School Teachers, French teacher Sarah Phillips, journalism, advanced public speaking, acting teacher, and basketball coach Matthew Wiggin, and math teacher and basketball coach Tyron Smith about the amount of time it took them to feel comfortable at KO. Ms. Phillips felt that she was able to feel comfortable at KO in “about a week or two, mainly because of the Chewonki trip,” she said. “It was a little crazy but I got to know the Form 2 students very well.” Another aspect of KO that helped the new teachers adjust to the environment quickly was the people in this community. Mr. Wiggin thinks that there is a specific culture in KO that brings comfort. He felt “ comfort within the community and felt welcomed immediately.” Similarly, Mr. Smith feels that the KO faculty was welcoming and Mr. Chapman was a great mentor to him. What also helped was Mr. Smith’s experience as a KO alum. KO is a welcoming environment which can be seen in the responses from our new teachers.
Though the teachers all felt comfortable at KO instantly, I was still curious about what challenges they might have faced when they first got here as new teachers. Ms. Phillips felt that the schedule was kind of crazy and confusing but that sports in the middle of the day was a cool thing. However, the biggest challenge Mr. Wiggin faced was not living in West Hartford when he first started as a teacher. He constantly felt tired from the travel and classes every day. For Mr. Smith, the biggest change he faced was the number of students. There are fewer kids at KO than at the school he used to work at which took him some time to get used to. Though some of these challenges the new teachers faced created issues for them, it is amazing how they powered through and worked hard every day for the students of the KO Middle School.
These answers display how welcoming and accepting the KO community is. It also shows that everyone adjusts differently and at different paces to new places. The best thing to do is to surround yourself with people who care about you and have a positive attitude toward you. Do not be scared to be yourself. There will always be people who understand what you’re going through such as the teachers interviewed in this article. It is always encouraged for you to find your place in the Kingswood Oxford community.