In it for the Long Hall

Words: Meghan Moore

Think back to the first day of high school; the feeling of chaos, not enough sleep the night before, and the terror of not being able to find your next class. Now, imagine that feeling, but not as a student, but as a substitute teacher. This year, Centennial opened its doors to a handful of long-term substitutes that may not have been here since the beginning, but certainly made their mark on Centennial.

Kelly Tieperman, a long-term substitute Government teacher found himself at Centennial after winter break, replacing James Zehe, who was promoted to Assistant Principal.

While Thomas Wheeler, who splits his teaching day between Glenelg and Centennial teaching English, was hired by Centennial while doing another long-term job at Owings Mills High School in Baltimore County.

“I had no idea, I was coming from Baltimore County which is a completely different atmosphere, I was coming in blind,” commented Wheeler on his expectations for the new job.

However, Tieperman was not as new to the Centennial way of life.

“I grew up here, I’ve worked at summer school in Howard County, and I substituted at Centennial for a couple weeks last year, so I pretty much knew what to expect,” added Tieperman.

Like students don’t know what to expect their first day, teachers are just as wary as what the school year may turn into.

“Coming in my first day was terrifying. I realized I had two twelfth grade classes, and I’m only 22 years old, so having kids that haven’t worked necessarily as other students throughout the year and having a new teacher come in, I thought it might be hard to get respect,” Wheeler recalled.

There are many moments that define a teacher’s year. Everyday students bombard their teachers with questions expecting them to have the right answers. But in some cases, the teachers are still learning how to answer those questions.

“Some of the crazy questions students ask, you have to be so careful on how you answer them- especially in a government class- wanting to give good information without throwing in political beliefs. Finding that balance.” shared Tieperman.

As of now, Wheeler will join us at Centennial full-time next year and Tieperman is searching for a teaching position both in Howard and Baltimore County.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

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