Teachers who have taught at Watkins Mill for at least 15 years answer why they stayed

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Sanjay Fernando

Junior Abijah Hines asks long-time Watkins Mill teachers an important question: why remain at the Mill?

I decided to ask teachers who have taught at Watkins Mill High School for at least 15 years the big question. Why? Why are you still here? After fifteen years, what’s keeping you here?

For some teachers, it’s the path they wanted to walk. For others, their parents were teachers. But not social studies teacher Adam Schwartz.

“I’ve been here for 25 years, I’ve been here for so long because I love the kids,” Schwartz said. Besides finding his love for working with kids, there have been many opportunities that opened up for Schwartz.

“I performed weddings for six students, I’ve been to baby showers, and it’s cool to see what you guys become,” Schwartz added.

“Students come back to visit and it makes you feel good because it means you did something right,” physical education teacher Kevin Watson said. “Teachers I had were there forever. They never left and so for me, that’s what you were supposed to do.”

Through these interactions, a community is formed and that community draws people together. “This school is my community—it represents me,” English teacher Jamaly Allen said.  “The kids here look like me and so I decided to impact my community by staying here.”

“I believe teachers that are [invested in the community] are going be invested in what students do after here,” Allen added. “You want them to be successful individuals in life.”

“I really value and appreciate the community at Watkins Mill,” Edward Graf, career and technology education resource teacher, said. “I feel a part of this community. It’s not just about teaching a classroom of thirty students. I’m doing some small part to help educate the community.”

Teaching goes beyond just the classroom. They have the ability to completely change the lives of many students if allowed the opportunity.  “I’ve made some lasting relationships with students,” English teacher Joye Saxon said. ”It’s a challenging job, but in the end, you see your efforts coming to fruition. Especially when students come back and tell you you’ve impacted their life.”

Students throughout the years thy become a hodgepodge of faces and voices, but moments of real connection with students become memorable. The success of all of their students is every teacher’s goal and through their help, it can be achieved.

Another teacher reflects on the diverse community and how the different demographics make Watkins Mill special.

“Our school is unique for its remarkably diverse yet impressively cohesive student population, which brings together the talents and potential of so many cultures and ethnic groups from around the globe,” math teacher Faina Atamas said. “Our students are truly a pleasure to teach and grow together with.”

Who do you think will still be here in 15 years? Let us know in the comments!

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