Fun with the Faculty

Liam Thomas Sullivan, Student Life chief editor


The Ipswich High school faculty is a very diverse group. The building is filled with a variety of young and experienced teachers who all come from a different backgrounds. I thought it would be interesting to interview a few different teachers who are in different fields to see how each teacher is unique. I asked three separate teachers (all who teach different subjects) who have all been working at the Ipswich High school for over 8 years. It’s interesting how they each have different views on the same questions and their views of the school. The three interviewees include the artistically talented Mrs.Pepe, the poetic Mrs.Panciera, and the one and only Mr. Pleines. They gave a wide variety of views on each of the same questions. It also gives you a chance to see what some of the faculty is like, and their unique views on certain questions.

One of the first questions I asked originated when I thought of how the school has changed over the years. I have seen a change in my four short years here, and I wondered what my teachers thought. Each one had a different idea of what had changed, and they had all been working for a similar amount of time. When I asked Mrs. Pepe (current art teacher) what she thought the biggest change she saw over her 9 year career she stated, “I’ve seen the biggest change as the technology  being a progressively challenging thing for students and teachers. Students used to use film cameras, and they were superior. Now everyone has good quality cameras and don’t ask questions of what makes a good picture because they’re all good.” I then continued to ask Mrs. Panciera (English teacher) who is also enjoying her 9th year the same question. She replied, “The biggest change I’ve seen is this year, with so many new staff members.  I see this as a positive thing as class sizes are smaller, and it’s nice to have people with new ideas.” As for my last interviewee, Mr. Pleines (current History teacher) told me, “I haven’t seen much of a change in the school in the past years but more of a change in myself. I have a new perspective, and I’ve had a positive change over time.”  Each teacher has had a different perspective and view on what has changed over the years, mostly relating to their fields. The most unique answer was from Mr. Pleines who related the question to himself and how he has changed, which over a 9 year span many things can happen to a person. Over the years each class seems to be similar since they’ve grown up in the same environment; I guess must hasn’t changed at all. The school is continuously evolving.

Another question I asked each of the 3 teachers was what was their favorite thing about the town of Ipswich is. Each teacher had a different idea of what made our town great and what they personally think of where we live. Mrs. Pepe touched more on the Ipswich High School’s programs saying, “My favorite thing about Ipswich is how very supportive the town is of the arts department, and how other schools and towns don’t have shows for arts or music and we do often.” This Showcases that our town puts money and effort into our arts and educational programs, even more then other local schools. Mrs. Panciera had a different outlook, focusing more on the town as a whole. saying, “I love the town of Ipswich and how you get so many different environments in one. It has the beach, ponds, farms a little bit of everything. ” Something that people in Ipswich can all agree with, we do have a beautiful town and it’s extremely diverse. Mr. Pleines had another unique idea of what he likes about teaching at IHS saying, The Thai food on main street makes for a good lunch. I also like the current schedule we have, as I am able to take the kids through a journey each day with 90 minute periods. I also like the fact that I don’t live in town, and I don’t need to get involved in the town politics, and I can just stay neutral. I like being able to have space away from my work space.” I like his unique outlook of being apart of the schools community, but not needing to get involved with “town politics.”  This also shows that not every teacher needs to live or hang out in Ipswich all the time. He also does acknowledge that we do have some great restaurants on our town’s main street.

One of the last questions I asked the teachers was what their biggest regrets and or accomplishments were as teachers , and I received interesting answers. Mrs. Pepe touched on her past at the High School as her biggest regret saying, “My biggest regret is that I didn’t remain here (Ipswich High School) from the first time I came. I left for a few years because they didn’t have room to offer me a full time job; I wished I had stayed for part time.” Mrs. Pepe also had explained to me that she had home schooled her daughter during that time. Mrs. Panciera’s regret is also similar to Mrs. Pepe’s, as it involves her teaching career saying, “My biggest regret is that I couldn’t have stayed at one school for my whole career, so I could have been a more known and respected member in the community. I spent time both in Burlington and Ipswich.” Though I think it’s a good thing that she decided to teach in Ipswich. I asked Mr. Pleines a different question because he couldn’t really recall a regret he had, so I asked him for his biggest accomplishment. He had quite an answer stating, “My biggest accomplishment as a teacher came when I taught at a low income school in San Diego. The classroom was crazy and the differences between me and the kids made it seem that I shouldn’t succeed. Yet I tried a new method of teaching where I kept it real, and the kids began to respect me and wanted to learn. This is  one reason why some classes are more memorable than others.  My advice as a teacher would be to be yourself and keep an open mind.” Sounds like quite an accomplishment to me, as I’ve noticed in his classes his personality makes it easy to pay attention in class.

All these teachers come from different states and went to different colleges, but now they help make up the Ipswich High School faculty. It was a lot of fun to be able to sit down with some of my all time favorite teachers, and learn some things I didn’t know about them. I even got to learn some things I would have never thought, like Mr. Pleines doing hard labor work in western MA before landing a job, or Mrs. Panciera being “extremely shy” back in her days in High School. We can learn a lot from our teachers and it’s not all just about the subject, but them as people in general.