Welcoming New Webb Faculty With Wacky Questions!
In light of the pandemic, more and more educators are reconsidering their priorities. Nationwide, teachers are resigning due to burnout, retirement, or the growing number of responsibilities that comes with the title of teacher, causing the supply of educators to fall short of the demand.
Webb was not exempt of this wide-reaching problem. As a substantial number of faculty departed last year, Webb had to find new members to fill their shoes and responsibilities. Fortunately for Webb, each department has managed to select a strong team, introducing 14 new faculty members to tackle the math, science, humanities, counseling, and sports programs.
“Hire talented people, then get out of their way,” said Ms. Fisher. Applying Tina Fey’s philosophy to hiring faculty, Webb has introduced a multitude of new teachers into the community this year. Active in both the classrooms and afternoon activities, these new faculty members are ready to bring unique ideas and experiences to the community.
“It seems like a lot of faculty has left the school,” said Michael Hoe, the Director of Studies. “But compared to the national level, it is normal. The pandemic has shifted the hiring market, and a lot of teachers had time to reconsider their career.”
When hiring new faculty, those in charge collaborate to find people who embody the Webb spirit. Despite the arduous process, their efforts paid off in the end, bringing in a new team eager to settle at Webb.
“The process was good and fair, but it was long,” said Ms. Fisher. “Build relationships, trust, and let them get to know this community as much as we’re getting to know them, and that was quite the endeavor.”
“We’re always looking for the most talented, energetic, and experienced educators that we can to enhance our academic program and our residential and core curriculum programs. We value the diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to enrich our program and I think we made some wonderful hires this year.” Ms. Fisher said.
In practice, Mrs. Fisher strives to make it as easy as possible for new faculty members to achieve success, such as ensuring that they have access to all the classroom materials from past years, the lesson plans, and the curriculum.
“I just want to give them all the tools they need, curriculum tools and pedagogical tools, so that they can take their own style as a teacher and have it work,” Mrs. Fisher said. “As much as we send students the message that we want them to feel safe and valued in the Webb community, and that they should be their true selves here, that is also the message we are sending to faculty.”
Additionally, Webb’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI) initiatives extend to both inside and outside of the classroom. The selection process aims to bring in a team with a range of experiences, backgrounds, and new perspectives who can look towards embracing and providing an inclusive space.
“I am very excited to continue our DEI initiatives in science,” said Lisa Nacionales, Science Department head. “We are constantly honing the curriculum, creating new electives, and encouraging professional development so that our faculty are able to grow in their craft and feel fulfilled. We value passion for and expertise in subject, a student-centered inquiry teaching philosophy, and a desire to create a culture of belonging and inclusivity at Webb.”
With such a large influx and range of new faculty, students are also adjusting to the change, already forming new relationships and finding fresh perspectives in both the classroom and extracurricular activities.
“I like that they are very passionate about what they do,” Yvette Shu (‘23) said. “Dr. Nguyen, who has an extremely cute corgi, is helping the new Asian Affinity Group all while being brand new to Webb, and he’s even using outside connections to support us. I also like Mr. Hebert; he’s teaching my fascism class and he’s a fun teacher.”
As these new teachers integrate themselves into Webb culture, students also feel like they are part of the process, helping them settle in and providing feedback for both groups to grow as well.
“I feel like they are adapting to us, and we are adapting to them,” Rosemary Luo (‘23) said. “It’s kind of like we are co-learning together because they ask us for advice on teaching, so it’s really cool.”
Through this time of adjustment, it is important for students and returning faculty alike to provide a welcoming space for everyone to thrive. Simply getting to know these new teachers is one of the best ways to cultivate community.
“I definitely miss the old faculty, but the new additions this year are great additions, and I am sure that they will do their best to ensure that Webb maintains the same vibe that emphasizes its community,” Maksym Graham (‘23) said.
So, just as the new faculty are learning about the ins and outs of the Webb community, start learning more about their quirks in these featured videos below. We present to you: Questions with New Webb Faculty (Part 1). Stay tuned for Part 2!