Head of School Tony Farrell is known for his periodic check-ins on classes, but he’s now spending G periods teaching a freshmen English class. Convent Academic Support Director Betsy Pfeiffer is used to helping students with their psychology assignments, but now she’s handing them out.
Convent & Stuart Hall administration and support faculty are teaching classes this semester in addition to their regular duties. Dean Reynolds Marquette cited history teacher Norm Luna’s retirement over the summer, the large Freshman Class and social sciences teacher Jason Enevoldson now teaching history as contributing factors to this change in staffing.
“I’ve got it relatively planned out,” Farrell said about teaching English again after several years. “I am collaborating with the other English teachers to make sure we have some kind of standardized experience for the students.”
Marquette and Farrell say teaching regular classes in addition to running the school has required them to rewrite their schedules significantly, but that they enjoy the closer connection they have formed with their students. All administrators have degrees in the field they are teaching and have taught before either at Sacred Heart schools and elsewhere.
“It requires a different level of time management,” Marquette said about teaching a psychology class. “Prepping for classes adds a different element to the day, and that’s stressful. What’s good about it is being in the class with the students and connecting with them.”
Some students describe the experience of being taught by people they have come to know as an authority figure as unusual, but vouch for their new teachers’ competence. Some students say they are also getting to know their administrators better.
“It was scary at first,” Daniel Rakin ’18 said. “But eventually you get to know [Marquette] more, and as a teacher, he’s just any other teacher out there. He has a few meetings here and there, but it’s fine.”
It is unknown how long this change in staffing will last. Classes are assigned to teachers based on need, and that it is impossible to predict how many students will sign up for classes the administration is qualified to teach each semester, according to Pfeiffer.
“I don’t know if I’ll be teaching psychology next year,” Pfeiffer said. “I would love to, but we just don’t know if there’ll be interest with the students.”