Jacob Fuentes also contributed to this article.

In recent years, Malden High School has had to endure the harsh effects of COVID-19 such as the development of student behavioral issues. Many of these developed behaviors are still on display today in various areas, while teachers hope to depart from them once and for all. 

This is a follow-up to a previous article written about the House principals´ thoughts on the school. The main issues the House principal team wanted to improve within the school revolved around attendance issues, hanging around in the hallways, and students’ mental health. 

Many teachers have stated their opinions on the current year and their hopes for the upcoming school years. One area that multiple teachers hope to improve within the school is the student attitudes and expectations. “I would like to see students thinking more of themselves and having more aspirations and be interested in getting somewhere,” said Jennifer Clapp, who has worked at MHS for 27 years as the AP Seminar teacher. 

Clapp and many other teachers, such as Kurtis Scheer, who has been working at MHS for nine years as an AP History teacher, believe that due to COVID many students and teachers have begun caring less about performances. 

“People feeling like they’re proud to be here would be great if that can improve,” mentioned Martin Berryman, a chemistry teacher at MHS.

Martin Berryman gives students advice on an assignment. CHELMIE HYPPOLITE

This correlates with another topic teachers want to improve, which is students coming to class on time and doing their work. The immense amount of students in the hallways has been a major conflict at Malden High. The lack of students in their classes and the crowding of the bathrooms has not only had a direct effect on other student’s abilities to use the bathrooms, but it has also affected the community aspect of the school.  

Clapp would also like to see the end of all directed studies, in addition to that she implied a better solution to the overcrowded studies.  “I would also like us to have a better solution for when teachers are absent. It’s not respectful of [students’] time to be stuck in the cafeteria or stuck in an unpleasant study hall which doesn’t encourage studying.” She continued to explain a prior solution the school had to manage absent teachers. This solution was called a “House Study”. House Studies were studies held in a smaller room for students with an absent teacher. Students would be separated by their house with an adult who was known within the house. 

House Studies “were a little more comfortable space where there was an adult that everybody in the house knew and everybody went there when their teacher was absent, as opposed to roaming the hall or sitting in the cafeteria doing nothing,” said Clapp. 

A larger issue that all teachers seemed to mention was the lack of teachers within the school. Paul Degenkolb, a French teacher who has worked at MHS for 17 years, said, “I think we have excellent teachers here at Malden High School but we need more of them because we have so many students.” Patrick Finnegan, a history teacher who has worked at MHS for 10 years, believes that the teacher shortage isn’t just a Malden issue. 

Although there are many things to improve within the school, recognizing the positives are significant to building the school. “Since 2020, things have been gradually getting better each year,” says Degenkolb. 

Academically, teachers believe the curriculum has improved. Finnegan added how he likes the new and changing curriculum within the history department.

Another similarity between the teachers has been how much the teachers love learning from their students. “Getting to know the students is why I’ve been here for so long. I’ve always felt like I’ve learned things from my students and I’ve always felt like it was an education for me,” said Clapp.

“I love seeing students work hard for something and achieve something and feel that  success”

Jennifer Clapp

“The students are wonderful. Throughout the years, I have had really good students. The dedication, the resilience, the diversity, it’s just a good experience”

Genoveva Mateeva

“The most positive thing has been all of the student interactions. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from my students over the years just by interacting with them”

Paul Degenkolb

A few other things that are the most memorable for teachers are the many events hosted at MHS. Brian Wong, who has been working for eight years as an English teacher at MHS, said, “There was an event called Dancing with the Teachers, which I did in my first year. That was a super highlight of that year.” 

Brad Gelling has worked at MHS for the past 20 years and said that his most memorable moment would be dominating the student-faculty basketball game. Scheer mentioned that JV’s and Model UN debate nights were his favorite memories.

Regardless, teachers believe there is more to come from MHS. “One of the biggest things that separates [Malden High] from other schools is the potential,” said Berryman.

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