Teachers: the real story

Bailey Orr

They sit in small, boxed rooms decorated by Dollar Store motivational posters. Desks are constantly filling with new faces and new personalities to govern. Weekdays range past seven hours and weekends are used for making red marks on papers. Though the working hours and pay are nothing special, there are other reasons teachers do what they do.

Jared Lippe has a few interesting jobs at Cedar Park High school, working as a teacher for Leadership, AVID and PALS. Lippe worked a range of jobs, such as camp counseling and construction, but saw his true passion in helping other people, especially kids.

“I’ve always grown up being a people person,” Lippe said. “I’ve known I love helping people, working with people, dealing with people, inspiring people to be good for themselves and learn to do better at whatever it is they’re doing.”

Lippe has previously worked for Vista Ridge High school and San Marcus Elementary School before finding his place at CPHS. With his group of extra-curricular classes, he connects to his students in a slightly different way than other teachers.

“The classes are developed to create this space, and to be all about relationships and trust, especially in Leadership, and PALS or AVID,” Lippe said. “I really care about my students, I really care for them, get to know them, so that trust environment of being open and being supportive together is important, especially in my classes.”

Another teacher on campus, Jenna Opperman, is one of the on-level and Pre-AP English 2 teachers, and has worked for the school for seven years now, previously working many different jobs before seeing her true calling in teaching.

“I think that teenagers are typically more honest about things where adults are not,” Opperman said. “They’re creative and sort of at the point in their development where they’re testing themselves and what they believe in, and that’s fun to watch and support.”

Being a teacher means talking to and getting to know students for most of a year. Bonds are formed and trust is developed, so when a school year ends it must be difficult to see students go.

“With 150 students, it’s hard to connect with everybody, but I think I connect with the mass majority of my students,” Opperman said.

An on-level and Pre-AP English one teacher, Cheryl Collins, has been a teacher for 20 years and has had her fair share of students coming and going.

“It’s not so much how it makes me feel, but I enjoy watching kids grow, I enjoy watching kids learn, and then say ‘Oh yeah, I was a part of that’,” Collins said. “I love to see kids when they’re out of school and they email me or come see me as adults or grown-ups and we talk about how they’re lives have changed. That makes an impact on me.”

Teachers are given a very unique job where they can meet many students and see them in a different light that no one else has the opportunity to see.

“It is a very challenging, but rewarding role.” Lippe said. “I think not everybody was born and created to be a teacher. I think there are so many different subjects to teach, and so many different personalities of types of teachers and the world needs them.”