By: Rajae McClinek ’16
With the start of a new academic year, the Peddie campus has new policies, new students, and new faculty and staff. Thirteen new teachers and staff members joined the Peddie community this fall, many of whom just recently graduated from college.
Rachel Aisenson is a new visual arts teacher, teaching both the visual arts foundation class and the drawing and design class. Aisenson is an alumna of the School of Visual Arts in New York and just recently graduated from Skidmore College in 2013. Aisenson thinks that being a young teacher has its unique advantages.
“High school and college are in my past but I remember what it was like to be a student,” Aisenson said. “So, I can help the students with time management, studying skills and the college application process.”
Due to her young appearance, Aisenson is sometimes mistaken for a student on campus.
“The first week I was tied to my faculty nametag,” Aisenson joked.
As one of the three new members of the math department, Emily Scott is a Pre-Calculus and Algebra II with Trigonometry teacher as well as a cross-country coach. At 22 years old, Scott attended Haverford College with some of the 2012 Peddie alumni.
“I don’t really think that age has come up as an issue, [since] there is a lot of respect in the classroom,” Scott said.
Incidents have occurred where Scott was mistaken for a student. Once at family style, the waiter did not know whom the head of Scott’s table was because they thought she was a student.
Scott maintains a close relationship with other new teachers. They often communicate with each other at lunch, discussing events and questions that arise as they adapt to the campus life.
“The returning faculty has been very helpful in helping me adjust, answering questions and providing guidance inside and outside the classroom,” Scott said.
Meredith Salmon is a new addition to the Science Department, teaching Biology and Honors Biology. Salmon graduated from Bloomsburg University in 2014 and is just 22 years old.
Salmon does not believe that the age similarity is playing a large role in the classroom.
“I thought it would be a problem but it’s not, the students really don’t care they just respect me as their teacher and I respect them as well.”
Salmon believes that there are many beneficial aspects to being a new teacher.
“I live with junior and seniors…I can relate to them and share my college experience which will prepare them for what’s ahead,” Salmon said.
While Spanish teacher Taylor White is no longer new this year, he was a new face at Peddie last year. White graduated from the University of Vermont in 2005.
“Every class is different, but it’s up to the teacher to set the tone,” White said. “If you act younger with your students they will respond to you as if you were younger.”
White admits that last year he too was mistaken for a student and was even asked to attend baby prom.
According to Associate Head of School Catherine Rodrigue, many applicants applied for the positions available, but the school selected these specific teachers, young as they may be, because of their abilities.
“They’re smart, they’re personable, they have a good sense of humor, they’re adaptable, and they can contribute inside and outside the classroom,” Rodrigue said.
Rodrigue mentioned that one of the teachers had used Canvas in college.
“To have experienced that as a student and then help us [utilize the tool] as a faculty member is great,” Rodrigue said.
Although a few of the teachers are young, Rodrigue affirms that all of them have experiences at high schools, universities and teacher training programs.
“We don’t determine the age of the people we’re going to pick,” Rodrigue said. “We pick the people we think are going to be best for the job… what we’re looking for is the best fit for our needs.”