by Ian Savelson
When you think about our community at d.tech, most people think of Community Meetings and how Dr. Montgomery often speaks of Community at them. Yet, through all this talk about community, the d.tech staff community is something of a mystery to most students.
In general, all of the staff members I interviewed had very positive things to say about the community. First-year freshman Economics teacher, Henry Lonnemann, described the community as, “Laid back, easy going, [and] comfortable [with] sharing their opinions.”
The staff community at d.tech, in many ways, is just like the student community. Both have a positive bond, and have gone through similar school experiences. Many of the teachers even mention that how the staff community runs, is built off how the students are taught at the school.
Second year Math teacher, Matthew Cooley, says he likes the flexibility d.tech gives teachers, despite it making everything more difficult as well. “If students had strict due dates, it would be easier for you [students], it would be easier for us [teachers], but would that be better? I don’t think so,” mused Cooley.
Just like new students have an orientation, the teachers have their own. New teachers also meet at the Stanford d.school, to learn design thinking and its principles. Many of the teachers who felt comfortable quickly, said the d.school prepared them for d.tech’s culture.
New teachers aren’t spared from having to do community-building games and icebreakers, either. “We did the all cheesy icebreakers. Every. Single. One,” said first-year junior English teacher, Lessley Anderson.
As you would expect with any community, the teachers will sometimes meet up for drinks, have house parties, and engage in other various social activities. This strengthens the bond between them. However, like students, the staff does not usually all hang out as a large group, but in smaller groups.
Compared to other staff communities, the d.tech staff community is still very cooperative and works together to share resources and push for a common goal, unlike at some others schools. Second-year freshman Physics teacher, Christopher Wall, says, “This staff community has yet to become adversaries of one another with factions formed that compete for resources and recognition and influence of the community at large.”
While there are always things to improve in the community, most teachers didn’t seem to have much to say on what could be improved. “I would like to see more funding for Physics because …well, it is the best!” joked Wall.
Some teachers said they wished there were more opportunities for the entire staff to get together and get to each other. “I wish we had more time together… so we can be more comfortable critiquing or giving each other more constructive feedback,” said Lonneman
All in all, the staff community sounds like a very positive group, with members who all came to d.tech seeking a change from the norm of high school education. Staff who, just like the students they teach, are diverse in personality and strong in the desire to change the world.