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  • Gabriel Hwang

Welcome Back Ms. O'Connor and Ms. Schutt!

This October, Ms. Schutt and Ms. O'Connor, two longtime Edgemont teachers, came out of retirement to teach English yet again. Excited students bustling through the hallways chattered about how they saw Ms. Schutt and Ms. O'Connor's profile pictures reappear in Google Classrooms. All across campus, students said, “Guys, I just saw Ms. Schutt in the hallway! Let’s go visit her!” and “Did you hear that Ms. O'Connor came back? We have to go say hi to her!” Campus had the great opportunity to interview them when they came back, and here is what we found out.

Ms. O’Connor has been teaching at Edgemont for eighteen years, and she recently retired in the summer of 2022. While retired, Ms. O’Connor missed the energy of campus and interacting with students daily, though she was enjoying retirement and doing “whatever [she] wanted to do,” letting her spend more time on things she has always loved, such as taking long walks, traveling, and doing volunteer work. 

Ms. O’Connor also began working part-time as a writing tutor at Westchester Community College. She enjoyed tutoring college students because it was a way to continue contributing to education. The most memorable thing Ms. O'Connor did in her short retirement was to go to France to attend a wedding. She told Campus that “It was challenging because I don’t speak any French, but it was very fun, and I learned a lot about France’s culture. I stayed in a small town that was nothing like the big cities such as Paris, so it was cool to see the suburbs and the countryside of France. It was a really eye-opening experience and an even greater learning experience for me. And, it was really fun!”

When asked to come back to teach at Edgemont, Ms. O’Connor was happily surprised. The new block schedule took her a few weeks to get accustomed to, and she said she is still getting used to it, telling us, “There was a block schedule back during COVID, but this current block schedule is nothing like before!”

In tenure here, Ms. O’Connor has taught all but eighth grade. She has primarily taught ninth grade, but she did teach a lot of tenth and eleventh grade in her time. She said that ninth grade is her favorite to teach because of the curriculum and the literature that students read in ninth grade. Ms. O’Connor loves the young protagonists, the theme of coming of age, and the connection that students can form between the protagonists’ lives and their own. She likes how the lessons you can learn from the characters’ lives can be applied to students’ lives, and her students are always grateful to have had her as a teacher. 

Now, Ms. O’Connor is teaching one class of English Nine and the satire course, which is for juniors and seniors. Ms. O’Connor has taught other selective courses, but it is her first time teaching Satire. Nevertheless, she enjoys that “even though it can be quite mocking at times, I think it is important for students to understand satire, whether they are reading literature or watching a film or a television show. I also enjoy working with juniors and seniors because I have often taught them before and because they know a lot!”

Now onto the also-beloved Ms. Schutt, who has been teaching at Edgemont since January 1986 and sent shockwaves through the community after she retired in the summer of 2023, after teaching for 36 and 1 ⁄ 2 years! In the summer, Ms. Schutt visited some friends and family members who she had not seen in a long time, and she enjoyed catching up with them. 

Ms. Schutt loves the energy and the excitement of seeing students who are really interested in the class and literature they read. She loves watching students’ minds explore and helping students learn new things. Ms. Schutt’s best teaching experiences come whenever she has the opportunity to work with students who are eager to learn and invest themselves in making the class better for themselves and others, sharing unique and interesting perspectives. Her worst teaching experiences, on the other hand, come whenever she feels like she can’t get the message of the lesson through to a student.

When asked to come back to teach at Edgemont, Ms. Schutt was excited about the idea of being back in the inspiring and familiar environment of Edgemont. However, she was concerned with whether she would have the stamina to keep up with it all. As a result, Ms. Schutt was delighted that she would be teaching part-time and not full-time. Not much has changed since she was last here (5 months ago), but she was excited to see her colleagues and students..

Ms. Schutt loves doing volunteer work, and she plans to do more of it when she is finished teaching: “I know that many people have not had the opportunity to live the comfortable life I've had, so when I can do a little something to try to make life a little easier for others, it just feels right and good.” Ms. Schutt has been the teacher advisor of Builders Club since 1986 (the year she started teaching at Edgemont). Builders Club is a service organization club where students develop passion projects and serve their school and community through item or food drives and midnight runs. Most of Ms. Schutt’s volunteer work outside Builders Club activities has been in soup kitchens and food distribution. She was just beginning to get involved with Family Services of Westchester when she was called back to the high school in October.

Currently, Ms. Schutt is teaching two ninth-grade classes and one tenth-grade class. Before she retired, she mostly taught ninth and tenth grade. However, over all the years Ms. Schutt has been here, she, like Ms. O'Connor, has taught every grade except for eighth. She says she loves the curriculum and pieces of literature taught over all the years, but she especially likes the coming-of-age focus in ninth grade and the more global focus of tenth-grade literature.

I’m sure that I speak for every Edgemont student and faculty member when I say it is truly wonderful to have these two excellent English teachers back at Edgemont, and that I hope when they finish teaching, they can truly enjoy their retirement.


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