Teachers Create Bonds Beyond The Classroom

Mary Corkery, Of The Talon staff

French teachers Michelle Bunyard and Kacey Schlotz smile under the Eiffel Tower on a trip to France.

Closer friendships among teachers develop in many ways, but they all have positive impacts for the students.

Academics are very important to schools, but there’s also a social aspect for both the students and the teachers. Spanish teacher Jason Sinclair makes it clear that he and Spanish teacher Eric Hill have been good friends since the day Sinclair started working with him. 

“The first day I walked into Summit, we locked eyes across the hallway and knew we would be friends forever,” Sinclair said. 

For science teachers Andrew Neil and Mark Matusiak, friendships were formed through similar interests and personalities. 

“I came to Rockwood Summit as a student teacher and he was my co-teacher, so he taught me how to teach. We were close in age, and we had similar likes, hobbies, and stuff like that, so it made it really easy to connect there,” Matusiak said.

French teachers Kacey Schlotz and Michelle Bunyard are also good friends, which allows them to become better colleagues, according to Bunyard.

Spanish teachers Eric Hill and Jason Sinclair take a selfie in front of a hiking trail.

“We have a lot of similarities, but we’re also different enough that we kind of compliment each other. She’s more detail-oriented and I’m more [focused on the] big picture, so that helps when we’re working together on something,” Bunyard said.

According to Neil, friendships also have an impact on the way their classrooms are run.

“Having positive relationships with each other is more conducive to bouncing ideas off of each other and coming up with different teaching strategies,” Neil said.

Language teachers can help strengthen education through more exposure. For Hill, it makes his classes more fun and enjoyable for the students.

“[Sinclair] will randomly pop into my classroom and start talking to my students or me, and we’ll just share silly stories. The students like it,” Hill said.

Science teachers Andrew Neil and Mark Matusiak show off their matching shirts

Behind the scenes, bonds between teachers also help enrich learning, such as the French speaking practices Schlotz described. 

“The way that [Bunyard]does interpersonal speaking activities is a little bit more realistic, real world situations that the students are put into to use their language, so I’ve adopted some of those strategies in speaking practice,” Schlotz said.

For some, traveling adds another layer to their friendships, such as Hill and Sinclair, who went backpacking together. 

“You really get to know the person instead of the teacher, and nothing can take away those lifelong memories,” Sinclair said. 

Though teachers throughout the departments get along, Hill explained that it helps to have a strong friendship, as it makes it easier to work together. 

“It makes it easier to collaborate. I feel comfortable with everyone in the department, but it adds a little bit more comfortability there,” Hill said.