New German teacher returns to her high school


Champine teaches her students

Hannah Thomas and Divya Sambathkumar

Kelly Champine, who graduated at Westford Academy, is back to start her career as a German teacher. The Ghostwriter had an opportunity to interview her. 

Question: How has teaching German been?

Answer: It’s been very interesting. I’ve been learning and using German for myself for a long time but this is my first time teaching in an actual classroom. And so I think when you start teaching, something you think you know really well, you start realizing how much you can still learn from it. I think that’s one of my favorite things so far but I mentioned I love the community feeling of WA and I feel like, within German, that exists within a smaller level as well. I really enjoy that. 

Q: How was your German teacher back in high school?

A: Mr. Joyce was my high school teacher. I had a hard time in his class at first because he had his way of doing things, strict wouldn’t be the word, but he expected everyone else to fall in line. I could be stubborn myself so we butt heads a little bit but as I continued through German with him as my teacher it became more and more apparent that even though he was really hard on us it was because he believed how well each of us could do and how much we could learn. He believed we were capable of doing really good things and doing really well in German which ultimately was something that pushed me. I could remember junior or sophomore year I wanted to drop down from Honors to CP1. I handed him the piece of paper to sign and he just looked at me and said no. He said that I had to stay in Honors. I’m so glad that he did because now I’m here and who knows what would have happened.

Q: Did the school look the same when you went here?

A: Yeah, pretty much. Not much has changed. There’s new pictures up on the wall and sort of decoration-wise, some things have changed, but there are posters up on this wall that were there when I was here. WA stayed more the same than I expected.

Q: Has teaching been the same as you imagined or did it change from what you thought it would be like?

I guess a little bit of both. It’s definitely, not that I thought it was easy, but teaching is a little lot more challenging than you realize when are still a student. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into it and I think I was more focused on the being up in front of the class part of it. There’s a lot that happens before and after school too. I think because when you are a student you only see the one side of it and you have six or seven classes so it is easy to think that teaching is easy, but when you are the one who has to be ready for class every day and get up to do it, I think it is definitely more challenging than I would have thought even a couple of years ago.

Q: Have you always wanted to teach high school kids?

A: No. I think if you had told me even a year ago that I would be here right now I might not have believed you.  It’s always been something I’ve thought about doing. It was always something that I would probably like to do but I didn’t necessarily know whether I wanted to teach high school or middle school or teach English in another country or something like that. So, teaching has always interested me and German has always been interesting but I was never sure if it would be that exact combination. I definitely didn’t expect myself to be back [at] WA. It’s just I’ve never thought that it would be a possibility. I think when you’re in high school a lot of students including myself have the attitude that you just want of grow up and go somewhere else, go far away, go to college and I’m definitely an adventurous kind of person. I always wanted to go far away and see the world and I did to an extent, I lived in Germany for two years and traveled all over. I got to meet really amazing people and had a really good time in college too. So, All of that brought me back to here and that feels like the right thing. Now that I’m here, I’m really, really happy. I think there is nowhere else I’d rather be right now.