Teacher friendships improve school climate
At Humboldt High School, a job provides the opportunity for employees to become more than just coworkers. HHS is unique as those who work there find themselves easily developing friendships and relationships both within and outside of school.
“I believe that friendships at work create a positive work environment,” Karin Defebaugh, high school secretary, said. “People are more productive when they enjoy going to work.”
The relationships between staff members often begin in the classroom with cooperative teaching and instruction or day to day interaction.
“Positive relationships in the workplace have always been important to me,” Grace Bazil, high school English teacher, said. “They help me feel comfortable, stay motivated, and improve my teaching abilities.”
Staff members are often expected to collaborate within the school setting, but at HHS the staff also collaborates and interacts with each other outside of school. Whether it is going to the movies together, attending Royals games, or going out for a bite to eat, many members of the staff spend time with each other outside of school as friends. Further strengthening their relationships outside of school, many staff members also coach sports, sponsor events, and even workout together.
“The friendships of my mentor and fellow first-year teachers have helped me feel supported and grow as a person and as a teacher,” Bazil said.
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Those who work at HHS are able to rely on each other when someone falls on hard times. It is not unheard of for a member of the staff at HHS to create a fundraiser or donate sick days to each other when something goes wrong in their coworkers’ lives. In addition, teachers and other members can go to each other when they are having a rough day, whether it be with a situation with work or at home.
“I realize how lucky I am to have such strong friendships with my work colleagues,” Kim Isbell, high school journalism teacher, said. “Not only do we get along great and have fun together, we also know that we can count on one another during both the good and bad times.”
The relationships that the staff members are able to form with each other have a long-lasting impact on themselves, as well as their families. Many members of the staff at HHS have children that are in school together, and their kids are also friends. The trust between employees at HHS is great enough that they allow each other to take each other’s kids to wherever they may need to go when one of them cannot make it.
“I like knowing there is always someone who has my back, whether it be to work out a solution to a problem at school or get my kids to practice; these people are MY PEOPLE,” Isbell said. “It takes a village, and we are the village at HHS.”
Story By: Marisha Collins