By Grayson Zoller
Due to a series of unrelated retirements and resignations, the English Department of Delta High School had been left with little more than a skeleton crew to run it. In a race against time to fill positions, Delta ended up with some new recruits less than 48 hours before (and one a week after!) the educational year started.
This year, half of the English department was out, and we now have three new teachers to fill the empty slots. Mrs. Whitney Freeman, Mrs. Terry Nelson and Mrs. Taylor Lennon are all here to teach a variety of ELA classes.
Mrs. Freeman worked at Jay County High School for 10 years before deciding to switch to Delta to align her schedule with her children’s schedule. Her children attend Albany Elementary.
She has a delicate balancing act of teaching freshman, sophomore, and junior English classes. This isn’t anything new to her, as she actually taught more classes at Jay County.
She thinks a large group of new staff is nice, saying “It’s actually kind of nice, because we’re all learning together and we’re all figuring it out together. We all don’t feel like outsiders because we’re all in this new change together.”
She got into freshman English because when she started working at Jay County, that’s what she was assigned to teach. Last year at Jay County, she taught Honors English 9, English 10, English 11, and Dual Credit Speech.
Mrs. Terry Nelson has had quite a journey to get to where she is today, and a 42-year-long teaching record.
In 1974, she began teaching newspaper at Yorktown High School, even though that was far from the original intention.
When moving to Indiana with her now ex-husband, he suggested she teach the newspaper class as it would be easier than working full time at a real newspaper.
“He said it would be easy, and that I could get home by 3:00 every day,” Nelson said, but it was rare for her to get home before midnight on a given day.
This is because she wasn’t just teaching newspaper, she was also teaching yearbook and several other classes.
After a few years at Yorktown, a controversy surrounding her sprung up. Students were sending anonymous letters to the newspaper in a Letter to the Editor styled column. Nelson was the adviser of the newspaper, and as such she said she reviewed the letters (and the names of their senders, to verify legitimacy) before marking the sender as anonymous.
The principal was being criticized in some of these letters and demanded that Nelson share the names of the anonymous writers with him. She said she refused to do this.
Eventually, after reaching regional courts, she decided to settle out of court on the condition she would keep her job.
Another event of note came about in 2009. She said her newspaper class at Muncie Central High School did research proving that the school had lied about the levels of asbestos present in the building, and that it had contributed to a physics teacher developing mesothelioma.
She was asked to fill in here at Delta by Mrs. Dawn Raleigh, who is an English and Drama teacher at the high school.
Nelson, who is only here for the first semester, is teaching six sections of freshman English. She will be replaced by Mrs. Mary Willaert when she gets back from her sabbatical.
Despite 42 years of teaching experience, this is Nelson’s first time teaching an English class.
Check out this story on the third new teacher in the English department
But what do other teachers think?
Miss Amanda Craw, head of the English Department, is excited about the new additions.
“New teachers don’t necessarily mean a negative impact on learning,” she said, noting that she’s interested to see what new teaching methods they bring to Delta.