Other stories filed under Indepth
Is It Friday Yet?
What a teacher needs to help them push through the school day
February 8, 2016
Students aren’t the only ones itching for 3:05 on a Friday afternoon. Teachers, too, anxiously await that sweet final bell week after week. The early mornings and late evenings peppering the life of a high school teacher at Skutt Catholic aren’t always easy, but these staff members do have their vices to help get them through. Coffee, music, prayer, whatever it may be – that extra motivation to continue on even when dealing with sometimes-obnoxious students is much needed. So what spurs your seventh period teacher on to that last, desperate burst of energetic greatness? Below are three of Skutt Catholic’s faculty members: math teacher Mrs. Higgins, computer teacher Mrs. Rago, and sophomore theology teacher Mr. Goetzinger who testify that they, too, have their items that simply get them through those long days.
Photo by Gabby Giesler
Caramelicous Blender, Extra Shot
Mrs. Higgins and her constant Scooter's craze companion
Approaching Mrs. Higgins’ desk in the morning without a Caramelicious Blender from Scooter’s present is one way of surely and quickly bringing your world to an end. This drink, composed of world-class espresso with smooth, homemade caramel sauce is crucial to Mrs. Higgin’s sanity as a math teacher at Skutt Catholic High School.
It all began entirely on accident. “I just saw it on the menu and hadn’t tried it before so I thought I would give it a shot, and I instantly fell in love,” recaps Higgins.
Not a school day goes by without her beloved Caramelicious. Mrs. Higgins says, “The baristas know me when I pull up in the drive-thru. They no longer ask me what I’d like to drink, only what size I’d prefer. It’s pretty great.”
Worthy of venturing out into the morning dusk early for her drink, Mrs. Higgins gets an extra shot of espresso each morning to get her through the day. Teaching juniors and seniors, educating them in Contemporary Business Statistics, Pre-Calculus, Algebra III, and Basic Statistics, coffee is a necessity when dealing with older students day after day.
“If I didn’t have this drink at school, I don’t know what I would do,” explains Mrs. Higgins. She has considered giving up her beloved Caramelicous as her Lenten promise. “I’d have to survive somehow. It wouldn’t be easy,” Higgins continued.
In fact, Mrs. Higgins has considered owning her own Scooter’s to make having access to her drink even easier. She even has gone as far as considering tying in the Scooter’s to Skutt Catholic.
“I’ve given some serious thought into opening a Scooter’s Coffeehouse at our school. I would donate 10% of the drinks back, and it would make a lot of sense. Students stop to get coffee before school regardless, so why not make it easier on them?”
This dreamy combination of caramel and coffee has Mrs. Higgins confessing that she is in fact obsessed. How can we blame her, though? Coffee is by far the easiest solution to being tired at school and is key for many teachers.
When asked how much money she roughly spends per month on Scooter’s, Mrs. Higgins replied, “Oh, way too much. I can’t even say a number, I’d be too horrified.”
No judgement there, Mrs. Higgins. We are rooting for you and your love for Scooter’s.
Photo by Lily Yates
Stringed Instrument Salvation
Got Mr. Goetzinger for study hall? Renditions of "Alabamy Gal" and more
Although theology teacher Mr. Goetzinger can already be said to be outside of the boring in many respects, in one he is no different from any other. Like an understandable myriad of Skutt Catholic staff, this educator leans on a crutch, so to speak, to assist him through each school day, stay sane, and finish strong.
“Well, this one I ordered on Amazon like, a year and a half ago because I didn’t want to use my plan periods efficiently,” he said matter-of-factly, examining a sturdy but unremarkable acoustic guitar. “I knew I could constantly keep myself occupied,” finished Goetzinger.
One of two instruments on display in the classroom, this guitar is a staple in his domain. “It’s a useful tool to distract me. I also write songs for students on it,” he added.
As for its seeming younger brother? “I bought this ukulele on Amazon as well. I was taking a trip of students to Nicaragua, a two week service trip, and I wanted to be able to annoy them on the 20 hour flight, so I bought this and learned one song: and that song was a really obnoxious show tune called “Alabamy Gal” which is only in minor (and is really annoying),” Goetzinger recounted mischievously.
The beginning of this Omaha theology teacher’s love for the music began in another interesting turn.” In college, I was in a band that played at local shows and played cover songs like Bob Dylan, Beatles, Neil Young; old standards,” he asserted.
Many days he plays during study hall, his entire seventh period plan, and after school, as well as during classes when “I get a song I need to play at a student right then, spontaneously.”
With an estimation of around 50 previous student players, not to mention a few teachers in the mix, these things can definitely get annoying, but are generally a crowd pleaser. “You can connect with some students on that level whom you otherwise might not connect with at all,” he confessed.
In other words, “There are some students who do not care one wit about class, but I can reach some of them because they’re interested in guitar.” Goetzinger’s instruments are his constant companion and one of few tethers to normalcy and a dash of fun.
If they went away suddenly, “I’d probably be angrier; meaner, like I’d probably just do a serious amount of online solitaire,” he admitted. “I feel like some of them [students] might miss it, and others might think “Thank God…” All in all, laughing as he described his stringed antics, this teacher is immensely grateful for the musical cohorts that get him through the school day.
Photo by Hannah Klemme
Woven with Warmth and Comfort
The sweater that accompanies Mrs. Rago during her weekly routine
There’s no denying that our school is a life-sized ice box. Whether you stay warm with a cardigan, crewneck, or hoodie, there are several options to keep you nice and toasty during the school day. However, our very own Mrs. Rago keeps cozy with a sweater that has kept her company for a large part of her teaching career.
Upon stepping inside Mrs. Rago’s classroom, you will probably notice three things right off the bat: rows of computers, a wall of cheerleading photos, and a lone, white sweater propped on the swivel chair by her desk. Almost everyday, you can catch Mrs. Rago sporting this woven sweater with whatever outfit she is wearing. Luckily, it’s monochromatic color goes with almost anything and it serves as a stylish way to stay warm.
This cherished sweater actually has an interesting background to it. Few may know that it came all the way from Ireland. But before this cardigan was brought overseas, there was another one that preceded it.
“This is not my original go-to sweater,” states Mrs. Rago. “My original sweater came from the Loch Ness Museum on a trip to England and Scotland, which would have been sixteen years ago. I had that one for a long, long time to the point where it started to have holes in the arms and such.”
To Mrs. Rago’s misfortune, she went to have the sweater repaired, but the result ended in the loss of the beloved pullover. “My husband finally took it because he had someone who was going to repair it, so they fixed it and then washed it. However, they didn’t know that it was a wool sweater so it shrunk,” shares Rago.
There was no way Mrs. Rago could continue her teaching career without the comfort blanket that she had comically lost. So on a trip to Ireland six years ago, she undoubtedly ventured to find a replacement. “The replacement looks just like the other one!” she testifies. Although she reminisces on the primary sweater she once had, her current one never fails to keep her warm during the school day.
What would she do without this sweater? The question is kind of unthinkable, even to her imagination. “I don’t even know what I would do! This is the best sweater I have ever found- I can’t live without it!” she says.
Getting through a single school week is a treacherous process in itself, but we all have our vices that get us through. Whether it be a can of soda, your favorite song, or even an article of clothing, it’s the little things that bring us joy throughout the week, just like Mrs. Rago and her cozy, white sweater.