Features

Ms. Archer and Ms. Barber Switch it Up

The English department and library welcome new teachers for the second semester

NOELLE AVENA

After decades of working with books, the English 2H, Junior A, and Creative Writing teacher Jeannine Barber meets the prospect of an environment filled with even more books with excitement as she takes on the role of the school library media specialist. 

  “Every day is different. I do a little of everything. I get to wear a lot of hats,” Ms. Barber said. 

   Following the departure of ELHS librarian Kathleen Sasso this December, the school  found someone new within its own walls. The position went to Ms. Barber. However, the timing of this situation caused a challenge seeing that it was mid-year. Ms. Barber’s classes needed to find a new teacher to step into her shoes in a few weeks, prompting the hiring of Emily Archer. 

   “The sophomores have a year-long project and the class is pretty intense…I would have liked to finish the year, but I wanted to take the opportunity when it presented itself. I’m also really sad about Creative Writing, it’s my favorite, favorite thing when it comes to education. And I feel blessed to have done it for so long,” Ms. Barber said. 

   Ms. Barber has been teaching at ELHS since 1997, so this is a change she can be comfortable adjusting to.

   “I think it’s a great opportunity for me to stay in the comfort of my community, but be able to do something new,” she said. 

    Despite the adjustment, the students highly anticipated the arrival of a new teacher. Ms. Archer was last an Ethics and English teacher at the Steward Outdoor School, a boarding school with a focus on environmental science in Ivoryton. 

   “I genuinely want every student to do well. It’s important that students enjoy the class and are not stressed, but are open to discussion and strengthening skills,” she  said. 

   Her students are finding the switch halfway through the year to be a big  adjustment. 

   Sophomore Ryder Singer-Johnson, who is in English 2H and Creative Writing 2, is adjusting to the change. 

  “At this point, we just don’t know each other yet,” said Singer- Johnson. I have a hard time with change, but Ms. Archer has been  great.” 

   Sophomore classmate Solmi Kwak feels  similarly. 

   “It was unexpected, but at the end of the day we are still learning,” Kwak said. 

 Ms. Archer enjoys reading, film, traveling with her family, hiking, seeing musical theater, and teaching herself piano. 

   She hopes to help students improve their writing skills and appreciate literature. 

   “I feel like a lot of students in this school are very science-oriented, so I want kids to see that appreciating literature is for everyone,” said Ms. Archer. 

   Ms. Archer hopes to see more of the ELHS community by possibly advising a club and getting involved with extracurriculars. 

   “I want to thank Ms. Barber and the English department for being so nice,” she said. “And the kids have been wonderful, I’m genuinely happy to be here.”

   Ms. Barber can now be found in the library, planning lessons, projects, and building the library’s collection.

   This mid-year switch is proving opportunity-filled for Ms. Barber and Ms. Archer, and the ELHS community looks forward to seeing both new and familiar faces in the halls.

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