‘Teacher carousel’ continues for math students

Henry Tantum

“The teacher carousel,” as senior Max Hogan called it, just won’t stop for multiple sections of Statistics and the Intermediate Algebra class. The students have received their fourth teacher this year since the departure of Curt Gebhard, the original teacher.

The classes started the year with Gebhard. However, just months into the year, he left for personal reasons and was replaced by substitute teacher Dan Brutlag. Then, Gebhard returned until a few months later when he departed again, and substitute Lindsay Laven took over. Laven finished out the rest of the semester with the class, and after winter break was replaced by Steve Thies.

According to Principal David Sondheim, Gebhard left on “personal leave.” However, Hogan said that students in the classes were left virtually in the dark about the whereabouts of their original teacher.

“We’re just confused. We didn’t get any information. I would love more information,” Hogan said.

Sondheim recognized some difficulty for students as a result of the changing teachers.

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“The biggest challenge is students having teachers changing during the semester. We’re trying as best as we can to minimize that,” Sondheim said.

Thies also acknowledged that the stream of teachers negatively impacted the student’s learning.

“I’m sure it’s very hard on the students,” Thies said. “But it’s better to have a teacher come in and do something instead of nothing. I’m doing the best I can for them.”

Hogan said that he, as well as other students, have learned less math this year, possibly because of the inconsistency of teachers. 

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” Hogan said. “You never know what you’re gonna get when you walk into that classroom.”

According to senior Declan Hardiman, many students also received low grades, due to  substitutes writing a final that did not correctly reflect what the students had been taught throughout the semester.

“At least with Gebhard we had consistency with assignments and curriculum. With substitutes we didn’t learn stuff and had no consistent grades,” Hardiman said. “They wrote out the final and had no idea what we were learning.”

Sondheim said that students who felt their grades were unfair were given the opportunity to amend them, through a process of visiting Heather Curtaz, the math teacher-leader, or their assistant principal. According to Sondheim, a number of students chose to follow this path.

However, according to Hardiman, it was very difficult for any students to amend their incorrect grades.

Thies has previously been employed at San Domenico, Redwood, and Marin Catholic as a replacement teacher.

Thies said that he has no idea exactly how long he will be sticking around.

“As long as [Gebhard] doesn’t come back, I will be here for the rest of the semester,” Thies said. “[The administration] told me it could be a week or it could be the rest of the semester.”