April 9, 2020

A familiar face joins WHS

Kate Harrigan joins the ranks of history teachers at the high school this year, after spending many years teaching United States History to eighth grade students at the middle school. (Photo by Colin Emerson '16)

Kids change both mentally and physically; some kids, however do change much more than others. When Kate Harrigan could not recognize some of her former students because they had changed so radically, it came as a bit of a shock to her.

Something Harrigan has said she experienced during her move to the high school has been seeing her former students grow academically.

“It’s good to see that some students who used to be quiet now participate a lot more,” she said. “And some haven’t changed at all, but in a good way. All in all, its amazing to see how kids change.”

Although Harrigan has not taught at the high school level, she has spent several years teaching in Wellesley Middle School, where she thought she would stay for most of her teaching career.

“I was thinking I would be a middle school teacher my whole career,” said Harrigan. “I always told my eighth grade students that I was in the middle school because I loved it.”

She opted however, to pursue other possibilities in teaching after staying in the middle school for such a long period.

“After a while, you start to think about what other possibilities there might be in the teaching profession,” said Harrigan.

Harrigan’s willingness to stay in Wellesley landed her at the high school, where she has enjoyed the depth of the discussions she engages in with her classes.

“I love the potential for really rich discussions in class,” said Harrigan. “I see how much these students have grown, and I’m really excited to see what that looks like of the course of the whole year.”

Harrigan also says she enjoys teaching a new curriculum as well as an extension of the U.S. history she taught at Wellesley Middle School. “I see how much we have extended the U.S. curriculum, and that’s really exciting for me,” said Harrigan. “But the modern world is so relevant to understanding the world today.”

She says she enjoys how much more independent students have become as well. “I try to make myself talk less, and the students talk more,” said Harrigan. “I like how students have an easier time getting into the content I give them.”

For the future, Harrigan has not decided whether or not she will stay at the high school for as long as she stayed in the middle school. “It’s really early, and every day I think of how it’s different from my middle school experience,” she said. “I’m putting myself in a new spot, and I’m looking to see where it takes me.”

(Colin Emerson ’16, Staff Writer)

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