New hands added on “the Cougar Ranch”

Michelle Chong, Features Editor

It seems as if the new teachers have been with the school all along. One cannot tell that they are new at our school. In each classroom, desks are arranged neatly in rows. Walls of the classrooms display colorful posters. Some of them offering encouraging advice to students, some of them displaying helpful ways to remember certain things for their respective subjects. Various students come in after school for tutorials from the teachers or to partake in a variety of activities for their clubs. Starting somewhere new often takes courage. However, Japanese teacher Sachiko Fukushige and Chemistry and Biology teacher Tamara Nixon seem to have settled into the school well.

Fukushige and Nixon are among the new faces at school—aside from the freshmen and a handful of students that have just moved in to Katy, that is. According to Fukushige, her new teaching position was unexpected due to her lack of experience.

“[I am] a first year teacher,” Fukushige said. “I have been looking for a teaching position…but I have been tutoring since I was an undergraduate for my friends, tutoring [in] Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. I have been tutoring and I feel comfortable enough teaching, so I thought I could give it a try. I did not think that I would find a position and I saw no position [open] until last minute.”

Fukushige expressed her appreciation for the hardworking students that she has worked with so far. According to Fukushige, seeing students that aim to perform well academically is very encouraging for her as a first year teacher, especially when conducting after school tutorials

“I like the fact that people are willing to learn, and that drives me to teach more,” Fukushige said. “I want to help students with their grades. I am doing that a lot too.”

Nixon expressed the same admiration for the student’s drive for academic excellence. According to Nixon, she feels part of that determination is that parents are more willing to be involved with teachers and students in the classroom.

“You can clearly tell that the parents care about the students and want to know, want to be updated,” Nixon said. “I mean, I am constantly receiving emails and I love it, I am glad to see that the parents are interested in [terms of] ‘how is my child doing? I know they had a test today, how did they do?’ ”

Nixon also expressed gratitude to the rest of the faculty, especially the science department who helped her prepare for the start of classes a week before school began.

“I liked Cinco, because like I said, I have been here…substituting and you can see the way the teachers work together,” Nixon said. “And you are not by yourself. I do not feel like I have been thrown into this position and expected to just, okay…now go teach everything. The other teachers are fantastic, it is a great place to be.”

Despite the helpful staff and students, both teachers admitted to feeling slightly overwhelmed by the size of Cinco.

“Cinco Ranch High School is so much bigger than my high school,” Fukushige said. “My high school is small compared to this one. This one is [so] huge. I still get lost in the building. I do not know my way around, all I know is my entrance, my classroom, [the] main office and [the] attendance office. This school is so long.”

Unlike Fukushige, who is a brand-new teacher, Nixon previously had substituted in other high schools such as Mayde Creek High School and has had more experience with navigating the numerous hallways of a school, due to the similarity in the layout of the two buildings.

“Well thankfully, all the schools….oh well not all of them but three of four of the high schools…they are all laid out the same,” Nixon said. “But I feel terrible when the freshmen come up to me and [ask] ‘ err well…where is this room?’ and I am like, ‘…where is my map? You need to go…that direction or you need to go to…that direction.’ So I certainly do not feel alone because I teach freshmen and we are all kind of in the same boat. Nobody kind of knows where they need to go.”

Overall, both teachers so far have enjoyed their experience. Long term government and economics substitute Derek Spier has also enjoyed his time at Cinco. According to Spier, he plans to apply for any position open for high school social studies teachers in Katy ISD, with a preference for a job in this school in the next month.

“I love it here at Cinco,” Spier said. “Kids are great, staff is wonderful on campus.”