Teaching Fellow Program Brings Teachers Back to School And Latest Knowledge to PA

New teaching fellows adjust to PA’s environment in an experience similar to that of new students. Susan McCaslin, Instructor in Religion and Philosophy, and Emma Frey, Instructor in History, co-direct Andover’s teaching fellow program. The teaching fellow program began in 1956, “making it one of the oldest teaching fellow programs among the New England residential schools,” said McCaslin. The program provides PA with young minds that have recently been exposed to the newest scholarly material in school while, the teaching fellows gain teaching experience in their first year out of school. Taylor Washburn, Teaching Fellow in Math said that his experience as a teaching fellow has made him confirm that he wants to pursue education as a career. Washburn said, “I can say for the first time in a while that I am genuinely excited about each and every day when I wake up in the morning.” “This program will give me an incredible foundation to begin from,” added Washburn. Frey said, “[The program gives] the autonomy of being a teacher, but also the support you would need when starting a new career.” According to McCaslin, teaching fellow programs have gained popularity among schools. “Every year, I get inquiries from other schools who are interested in setting up a fellows program of their own,” she said. According to the co-directors, PA’s teaching program is very competitive. The application process begins with the department chairs, who are the first to review the applications. The Dean of Faculty Office makes the final decision. Christopher Jones, Teaching Fellow in History, has returned to Andover after a six-year leave of absence, during which he attended graduate school. Jones said, “I remember [Andover] pretty well. The reason I came back is because I enjoyed it in the first place.” Jones said that he had to readjust to boarding school life. Instead of working on individual research as he did in graduate school, Jones’ daily schedule is now more rigidly set in classrooms and with students. Echoing the sentiments of many students at Andover, Jones said, “I miss sleeping in.” Hailey Folmer, an alumna and Teaching Fellow in English, said, “I’m even more actively involved in campus life than I was as a student [at Andover].” Folmer is helping Frank Tipton with the 20th-anniversary commemoration of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). Teachers not only share their knowledge, but gain knowledge as well. Jones said that Andover students are very thoughtful, and so as a teacher, he always has to be on his toes.