Mrs. Feeley on What it’s Like to be a Teacher at OP

Isabella Lopez, Photo Editor

School is a unique experience for every individual who attends. We as students know what it’s like to be involved in clubs, school functions, sports, and even leadership roles, such as student council. It can be a great and enjoyable 4 years if you make the most of them or it can be a long 4 years. What students fail to take into consideration is what it’s like to be a teacher at the school. It is a very different experience and one that is often overlooked. It’s important to remember the hard work and effort that teachers give daily.  Mrs. Feeley is a social studies teacher at Orchard Park High School who was kind enough to be interviewed on what it is like to be a teacher at OPHS. She talks on the school environment, students nowadays, and how COVID has impacted her classroom.


What does being a “good student” mean to you?

MF: I think a good student is someone who gives their best, you know? Who always gives their best effort, stays organized, and asks for help when needed.


What makes a great teacher?

MF: I think the most important thing is when a student looks confused, try and clear things up before you move forward in the class. And to try and relate what you’re teaching to a student’s level or to their world really. I would also say having good organizational skills and high standards


Was becoming a teacher always your career goal?

MF: Yep, since first grade. 


Have you taught at any other schools?

MF: Nope, this is my only one I’ve taught at.


What is the biggest change you’ve noticed in your students over your career?

MF: That they are too turned into their electronics. Cause you know, when I started there were no electronics. That’s the biggest change. But I will say a positive, is that they are much more diligent with their homework and stuff. So you got a negative and positive!


If you could switch and teach any subject area/ specific course at OP, what would it be?

MF: I really love social studies, so probably US history.


What do you wish you had more time to do during the school day?

MF: Probably more time to meet with students. I wish I had more time to talk one-on-one with them.


Do you think OP is a welcoming environment?

MF: I would say yes, but that’s only from a teacher’s perspective. From a teacher’s perspective I would say most are welcoming, but I don’t really know about the students. I would say most of the students are pretty welcoming but it’s hard to tell from my point of view. You know I only see one group at a time in my class, so I’m not sure. 


If you could change one thing about OP what would it be?

MF: I would change coursework to come first and then you know clubs and social commitments come second. I don’t always see that.


Do you think you are compensated enough for the work you do?

MF:  Yeah I do.


In your opinion, did the district originally handle COVID well?

MF: I’m going to say this, yes because it was so new. I would say they did the best they could.


What do you miss most about school that COVID changed?

MF: I’m missing seeing the kids and adults’ faces. I miss seeing the smiles.  And for a teacher that’s how you know if a student is really getting it or if a student is lost, so that’s problematic for me. Yeah so masks are a big one, I want to just chuck those right off. 


Do you think phones/social media have affected how students act?

MF: Yes, I think it’s had mostly negative effects on them. Because your generation can’t get away from it, you know what I mean? My generation if you were picked on by someone then you went to the next class and it was over or you went home and it was over. You guys can’t, it’s always there.


A lot of people think bullying has become a bigger problem because of social media, do you agree?

MF: I agree 100% because I think people can just say whatever they want because they’re not face to face, so I think that’s a real problem.


Do you think there is anything you as a teacher can do to combat this?

MF: I just tell them, especially my homeroom, you do not always have to answer a text. You should ignore a text or post that upsets you and move forward.


Have you ever witnessed bullying at school?

MF: A few years ago, but not recently. Yeah I’ll say not recently.


What is your favorite thing about teaching at OPHS?

MF: Oh my God, the students are amazing! They’re so polite and the majority try really hard. And I just like being with people in your age group.


Anything else you would like to add?

MF: I think we have a really good high school and I’d like to see that sort of continue. I really like how our high school is set up and how kids are getting a good education, and so I hope that will continue into the future.


After taking the time to interview Mrs. Feeley on her perspective of school life it is evident that we have a great school all around. Although COVID has made some things more difficult and disconnected, the school has done their best to make it as enjoyable as possible. When a teacher truly cares about their work and students, it makes for a great school day. If they do their part then we as students need to as well. So, make sure to put the effort into your work and be kind to those around you, and we can continue to make OP a safe and welcoming place.