Techniques on Intimidating Upper Schoolers: An Inside Scoop from Teachers
By: Aarathi Sahadevan
Ninth Grade. I can still remember the bright eagerness I had so deeply vested in preparation for that most anticipated of years. Being as wise as I was, I knew that my academic success was hinged on how ornately I decorated my locker (yes, there are locker carpets and chandeliers) and on how many unnecessary school supplies I could horde in my new backpack. It was an innocent time, when GPA seemed like something to do with the government and essays were as rare as a lunch day without pasta. As most of you can relate, despite the novelty and excitement of freshman year, it was not a walk in the park. As I walked into my first class, I was gripped with fear as I realized that upper school was a whole different ball game. Thankfully, despite the initial shock, I had my teachers to harden me to the realities of high school living.
Teachers, facing a new batch of freshman, understandably, need some mechanism to help their “adjustment” into the new environment. As we entered a new school year, I interviewed teachers to see what techniques they had gathered to show us what high school is all about. Ms. Krist, who teaches ancient cultures and Government claims that tough love and high standards are the way to go, saying, “if you hold the bar high, students will work and reach that benchmark, and usually exceed it!” Many teachers like Ms. Day, agreed with this approach of letting students jump in from the first day onward, and creating a reasonable expectation without fear. Mr. Purpura, who teaches sophomores, juniors and seniors, had a similar if not a slightly more intimidating approach, saying he likes to tell his students from the start that “they have signed up for a college level course, and if they are here for any other reasons besides their own interest, they should leave.” As a veteran of his class, I can definitely attest to the effectiveness of this first day routine, even if it did make me cry a little on the inside.
Although most if not all teachers employ the aforementioned methodology in preparing their students for the upcoming trials of high school, some also have more… unique techniques when it comes to dealing with their new students. Mr. Parsons claims that he is actually more intimidated by the freshman than they are of him, even going as for as to avert eye contact in the hallway. Ms. Geaghan, on the other hand enjoys striking fear into the hearts of her students by giving them blood-curdling death glares in the hallway. And last but not least, Mr. Adler, who claims authority in the classroom with a simple “HA YAH!” shows his students his amazing ability to break bundles of number 2 pencils with his pinky finger alone. I’m not lying, I swear.