A Letter to ODA’s New Hires


Christian Ramos, Staff Writer

Dear Incoming New Teachers,

We hope you are aware that you have some big shoes to fill as you become a member of the ODA faculty. Each academic department has its own character which the student body knows and loves. The traits and eccentricities that define a department make it easy to hook-in students by creating genuine interest in the classes.

Fit in here, and you will without a doubt be instantly integrated into the ODA community.

The following offers a Cliff Notes version of the quirks of each department in ODA’s upper school.

The Science Department:

Trait 1: Love Football

All of the Science Department teachers love football. Their passion for their favorite team is unmatched and they are unafraid to show it. They are always bringing up highlights from games and seasons past and using their favorite team as examples to teach concepts. You can always spot team paraphernalia throughout the classroom. Whether it’s school mugs, emblazoned thermoses, logo’ed hats, or embroidered jackets, you always know what their favorite team is just by a quick scan of the room.

Trait 2: Use Humor

All of the science teachers make jokes all the time, many of them filled with playful sarcasm. Between the pop culture references, satire, and comical exaggeration, you will never leave a class without a few laughs.

The Math Department:

Trait 1: Bring up Senioritis Throughout the Year

If the class has seniors in it, constantly warn them of senioritis, and point out classic senioritis moments should any occur. If the class does not have seniors, bring up senioritis moments from other classes and warn/beg them to not become what the current senior class has become.

Trait 2: Become a Persona

All teachers have their own personalities, but the math teachers, in particular, seem to have big personalities. Whatever your personality is, exaggerate it… a lot. If you do, you will follow the blueprint of the ODA math teacher.

The English Department:

Trait 1: Share Outside Interests with Students

ODA’s English teachers have a particular talent when interacting with students. They often connect with the students on a more personal level. Find ways to engage your students with topics of all kinds. 

Trait 2: Show your Passion for Literature

Somehow, our English teachers muster passion for literature even for books they’ve taught many times. You’ll need to sharpen the glimmer in your eye to convey your passion for great writing. This passion radiates to the students, who develop a mutual passion for the beloved text of the teacher.

The Arts Department:

Trait 1: Use Student Input

If you are a music teacher, let your students pick some of the songs you will perform, and then generate the company’s repertoire based on the students’ interests. If you are an art teacher, create assignments you know will pique the student’s personal interests and leave it open ended so the students can work on what they are interested in.

Trait 2: Use Jokes to Get Students Back on Task

If you are an Arts teacher at ODA, you love playful sarcasm. You might even occasionally use sarcasm to refocus a student. Don’t misread this. The Arts teachers are some of the most passionate about hooking students into their subjects.  

The Foreign Language Department:

Trait 1: Make Jokes

 If you are a foreign language teacher in ODA, you have a wacky sense of humor and are not afraid to show it. Whether it’s displaying your affinity for a certain ethnic dish or singing wacky lyrics in a foreign language, you always entertain your students.

Trait 2: Be Calm

Aside from your humor, you are generally pretty calm in the classroom. Your students enjoy class because class time is not stressful. Your students love how a foreign language class can be challenging and calm at the same time.

The History and Social Studies Department:

Trait 1: Use Similies and Metaphors… A Lot of Them

You are never afraid to drop a few references, make allusions, and figurative language as often as possible. Additionally, you seek philosophical value in a wide variety of things. Your students love your prophetic nature and occasionally find it funny, and so do you.

Trait 2: Be Enthusiastic and Funny

You are exuberant pretty much all the time. You love to engage in deep as well as topical conversations. You love to be humorous and engage with the student in many different ways. Sometimes your energy can be a little over the top, but you and your students love it.

Thinking about becoming a teacher here. You won’t regret it. ODA teachers are the best!