Teachers who began during pandemic talk on being new cougars on campus

Although last year may have been a crazy year for teachers all over the world, it didn’t stop teachers from attaining new opportunities in their teaching career.

From English to Journalism and Dance to Band, Cougar Nation welcomed new teachers across many disciplines; Ashley Douglas, English; William Vega, Yearbook; Alyssa Loweree, Broadcast; Tyler Simon, Band and Alyssa Donnelly, Dance.

Ms. Douglas, Mr. Vega, Mrs. Donnelly, Mr. Simon, and Mrs. Loweree overcame the struggle that was last year to become new Franklin Cougars.

Q: What is your first and last name? What do you want your students to call you and what do you teach?

Ms. Douglas: “Her name is Ashely Douglas but she wants her students to address her as her Ms. Douglas and this year she teaches both English 2 and English 4.”

Vega: “My name is William Vega, Mr. Vega is good and I teach newspaper and Digital design media production.”

Donnelly: “I would like my students to call me Ms. Donnelly and I teach Dance and I am the director of the dance team.”

Loweree: “My students call me Ms. Loweree or Ms. Low (sometimes my last name can be hard to pronounce.) I teach photojournalism, journalism, and broadcast journalism.”

Simon: “I would like my students to call me Mr. Simon and I am the band teacher here at Franklin.”

Q: In the amount of time you have been in Franklin, how has your experience been?

Donnelly: “My experience at Franklin so far has been a great one! Being the “new kid on the block” at any place can be really nerve wracking, but I quickly learned that I had nothing to be nervous about. The staff and students have made me feel so welcome. I’ve enjoyed learning from everyone around me and I feel lucky to be a teacher here!”

Loweree: “Although I’ve been teaching for two years, I feel like I’ve only been teaching for one year because our last year was virtual and this is my first time teaching in a virtual classroom. Although last year was different, I’ve enjoyed every second of being a teacher at Franklin.”

Vega: “It’s been really good, a lot of support for sure, from the admin and the administration, I like to think that I get along well with a lot of the other teachers. It was virtual last year and now luckily we are here in person and I think that it has been going very well.”

Douglas: “In the time I’ve been at Franklin, my experience has been interesting. I got here in January so the first couple weeks were online but then we started going physically to school a little while after.”

Simon: “My experience at Franklin has been fantastic. I have felt welcomed by the students and staff since day 1!”

Q: How did online learning affect you last year?

Loweree: “online learning was interesting last year. I felt frustrated at times not being able to be hands on and it was rough overall not being able to use cameras but I would say I enjoyed the challenge.”

Douglas: “Online learning last year improved my class because you can do anything with technology and technology also helps you stay organized with all your classes.”

Simon: “online learning was difficult for me because teaching a music class online was hard. The performances were hard to keep authentic and it just became a sterile activity in general.”

Q: How did you end up at Franklin?

Donnelly: “Before I came to Franklin, I was working on my undergraduate degree at UTEP. I graduated during COVID then worked as a substitute while also teaching at a local dance studio,”. Loweree: Before I was at Franklin, I was in the news industry for 12 years and this is now my first year teaching.”

Douglas: “I was in Saint Angelo Texas before I was teaching here at Franklin.”

Q: Is there anything in particular that you would like your students to know?

Donnelly: “I would like my students to know that I love what I do. It is a privilege to share something I’m so passionate about with Franklin students, and I hope that it shows how excited I am to be in a classroom with them.”

Douglas: “I would like my students to know that it is up to them to get what they need from their education.”

Vega: “I want my students to know to just be honest and to write as accurately as they can to make sure that whatever they put in the yearbook is honest. If they say something about a sports team it is important to make sure that everything is very accurate and honest as to not put out wrong information.”

Loweree: “I would like my students to know that I am here to support them and help them whenever they are struggling. It is a learning experience for me too as I am new to teaching and I’m always here to help.”

Q Do you like your current classroom? If not, what would you change about it?

Donnelly: “My current classroom definitely feels like a safe space to me. I enjoy being inside my classroom and look forward to decorating it even more to my liking.”

Simon: “I think that the band room is a little small and I wish it was a little bigger because you need a lot of room for the band.”

Vega: “The decor is alright, I haven’t changed much other than just putting up all the computers around the room. My editor-in-chief, Amber, Is helping me decorate for Halloween, which is coming up so I’m very happy that my editors are helping me decorate with things like holidays. I’m not a very creative teacher when it comes to decoration, I can do a good job at organizing but I’m not the best at decoration”

Douglas: “I think that my classroom itself is good but I think the colors are all over the place. There are many different colors all over my class and I think it would be better if it was more similar.”

Q: Do you have any future goals as a teacher? If so, what are they?

Vega: “We want to expand our yearbook this year and that is a future/ current goal. Other than that I want to build good teamwork with all the staff. We have a large editing group this year and I hope that we all get along this year and we do well with teamwork in general.”

Loweree: “my future goals as a teacher are to expand the broadcasting program. I’m really honored to be the one to help launch the broadcasting program and I hope to be able to see it expand and grow in the future.”

Donnelly: “I would like to expand the drill program. It would be awesome to have even more students on the team”Douglas: “A future goal of mine not necessarily here at Franklin but just as a teacher in general is to be able to teach University in the future.”

Simon: “Future goals as a teacher are to be a finalist in the state marching band contest and take the band to Midwest international music conference. I would be so excited! My goal as a teacher was to be the head director of a 6A band program and here we are.”