link Anna George: Staff photo
Bill Strong, the theater teacher at Portales High School, and sophomore Emily Brown reminisce about her days in theater as a child at the school’s open house. Brown just transferred to PHS from an out-of-state public school.
After 19 years of teaching, theater teacher Bill Strong was ready on Wednesday for another school year to start with the Portales Schools’ annual open house.
Today is the first day of the new school year.
“Ready or not, here the year comes,” Strong said.
With 17 new teachers, a change in class length, and classroom changes, every teacher is facing the challenges of a new teacher, Strong said. The majority of Strong’s extra curricular classes have been cut to only 18 weeks from the usual 36.
“It’s exciting, and new, and I’m thrilled about it,” he said.
Laurel Kerg, a math teacher, faces the challenges of being new to Portales Schools. She said the advantage of the open house was that all students got to put a name to a face and see that she was not scary.
“Most students have a fear of the unknown and this allows us to dissipate that fear,” Kerg said.
Ada Emily Smith, a senior at Portales High School, said she is used to change from the Air Force. Smith said the advantage of the open house is being able to gauge the overall enthusiasm that comes from the teachers. This allows her, she said, to portray her interest and stand out to her teachers.
It is exactly what science teacher Dinah McAlister said she is looking for during the open house — a chance to get to know her students individually.
“I think the main advantage is that I get to meet each student in a relaxed atmosphere,” she said.
Joan Brown, a Portales mom of two sophomores, looked forward to the opportunity to make contact with her kid’s teachers. Brown is a math instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. Being a teacher allows her to realize how a parent-teacher relationship can be helpful.
“From a teacher’s perspective, I realize that the open house lets teachers understand the expectations of the parents,” she said.
Eric Sawyer, a senior at PHS, does not think the open house was useful for him, as an upper classman. Sawyer was unable to meet a lot of his teachers because he is enrolled in dual-credit classes.
As an extra curricular teacher, Strong saw new faces from all grades and said he was excited to meet all of his new students. He said the open house helped him prepare for classes.
“I always remember their faces,” he said.