Fejes changes departments, not level of awersomeness
Ivy Shi / The Explorer
I grew up with many teachers in my family. Two of my aunts—one on each side—and one of my grandmothers were teachers, in a plethora of different subjects and grades, so I have known the system for quite some years of my life. Something that has always been taught to me is that it is an art form to find a teacher that touches many of his or her students’ lives.
Case in point: Hudson Middle School teacher Michael Fejes.
Those who took Mr. Fejes’ Language Arts class probably remember him as the entertaining, Diet Dr. Pepper guzzling, Nerf-gun fighting teacher with the artsy walls. Some of his last English students also remember his infamously lengthy writing assignments.
I had the fortune of having Fejes as a teacher my eighth grade year and absolutely learned to the best of my ability. I entered my freshman year a confident writer and performed academically above my peers. I have many fond memories from that class, and I think that all of his students could agree that he made English fun and exciting, opening up the doors to imagination and creativity.
All of this considered, a reasonable assumption would be to retain Fejes in the English department.
Not only was Fejes moved to another subject area in the fall of 2011 at Hudson Middle School, but he now has to coach his Power of the Pen Team– a competitive writing team– in his science room, complete with sinks and microscopes.
Fejes himself said that he wasn’t given an exact reason on why he was switched. The only information that was provided was that “with so many teachers leaving the building, changes had to be made, and he was one of those changes.” Other teachers moved included Rusty Johnson, moving from eighth grade health to eighth grade science; Becky Reese, who was moved from sixth to eighth grade science; and the very beloved Deborah Mancuso, moving from sixth-grade science to a dual position in eighth-grade science and Social Studies, a heavy load for a teacher only earning an average salary.
Fejes said, “I think my jaw dropped when I found out that I wasn’t going to be a Language Arts teacher anymore,” when talking about the switch. “It all comes down to qualifications; my degree says that I can teach anywhere from first to eighth grade. When Hudson needed a science teacher, I was switched.”
People remember Fejes not only for his teaching talents, but also for the student-created murals adorning his classroom walls. Fejes couldn’t take his classroom with him, so the walls have since been painted over to resemble the inside of a prison.
Fejes says that walking into his old room was “too much for him to handle,” and that he “just couldn’t take it.”
Despite the change, Fejes is still devoting his time and effort to the Power of the Pen team.
“We’ve done amazing this year.” He says, about the team. “All of our eighth grade members are going to states. That’s something that hasn’t happened in a very long time.”
Nicole Lehman, one of the six Eighth grade team members says, “This just goes to show what an amazing teacher Mr. Fejes is. Not many other teachers could still do a good job coaching a Language Arts team, when they are teaching a science class.”
However Lehman also explained that one of the problems she has had to face was inspiration, saying, “we used to be able to look around the Language Arts room and see quotes from books and poems, providing information. Now all we see are posters on Micro-life and Soil.”
Fejes still remains positive about the switch, enjoying the new challenge, and getting to work with an entirely new set of material.
“I still get to read articles with the kids, which has been great, and I still get to read what they write.”
He also says that he hopes to return to Language Arts in the future, but remains grateful to work with students every day.
This switch is not only an extreme challenge for a teacher, but a disgrace among our administration. It deeply angers me that my favorite teacher can no longer give the confidence in writing as he did me. One can only hope that the administration learns from this mistake, and never lets it happen again.
Mike Fejes was recently re-assigned from the middle school English department to the science department.