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Teachers: Uncovered

The+adventures+of+Mr.+Beland+and+Mr.+Bunting.
The adventures of Mr. Beland and Mr. Bunting.

The adventures of Mr. Beland and Mr. Bunting.

Photo Courtesy of Amanda MacKaye

Photo Courtesy of Amanda MacKaye

The adventures of Mr. Beland and Mr. Bunting.

Natalie Zur, Sentry Staff Reporter

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By day, teachers labor tirelessly to construct lesson plans and grade never-ending stacks of papers.  But by night (and during the summer), these teachers’ extracurricular lives go from 0 to 100 ‘real quick.’

Students are often deceived by the calm, cool and collected demeanors of their teachers while at school.  Any thought of a teacher leading a thrilling life is quickly forgotten and left by the wayside.  It can be startling — or downright scary — for students to spot teachers in the real world.

Yet, while some teachers may spend their weekends grocery shopping, others live a double life that would make Hannah Montana green with envy.

Photography teacher Allen Beland likes to spend every moment he can “becoming one with nature.”  Last Spring Break, he and English teacher Jeffrey Bunting went on an “epic” bike ride together; a non-stop trip from Pittsburgh to Georgetown.  He has also been known to act as a roadie for his brother-in-law’s band, travelling with the musicians on tour during the summertime.  On weekends, students can catch him rollerblading on Saturday skate nights and riding up and down the C&O canal on an antique bicycle, complete with six-foot-tall wheels.

As exciting as many teachers’ lives outside of school are, a common issue they face is a fundamental lack of time.

“I have a long list of things I want to do.  Currently, I am trying to persuade Bunting to paddle with me in my canoe down to Key West.  There are a couple of places that would be questionable at best, like the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina, but I think we could do it!  So, after I retire, don’t be surprised if you read a headline in the Washington Post about the crazy old photo teacher who paddled his canoe from D.C. to Key West, because it’s a plan,” said Beland.

Beland has an ambitious list of future goals. “One, [being] shot out of a cannon as a human cannonball.  Two, I have been wanting to go skydiving for a few years now, but every time I show up and wait around for eight or so hours, the weather conditions in the upper level atmosphere are not favorable for jumping.  So I’ve never been able to do that even though I’ve been actively trying for the past three years.”

Eventually, his plan is to become a B.A.S.E. jumper, which entails parachuting from either a “Building, Antenna, Span or the Earth;” hence the acronym “B.A.S.E.”  Around the world, it is considered an extreme fringe sport.

“My mission is to travel down to Rio and, just before dawn, scale the 900 foot Jesus and sit atop his shoulders while watching the sun rise.  Afterwards, I will B.A.S.E. jump off of him.  I know I’ll be arrested, but it’ll be worth it,” said Beland.

English teacher Jeffrey Bunting, not unlike Batman, teaches language and composition by day and transforms into an author during the night (and some early mornings).

“The hardest part about being a writer is just carving out the time.  So, at night, I’ll do 30 to 40 minutes, and in the morning I’ll wake up a half hour early to write something. If I can get 500 words a day, that’s a good day,” said Bunting.

His book, most comparable to “a young-adult, science-fiction, interstellar, Twilight,” should hopefully be done soon for readers to enjoy.

One thing is for sure, the most anticipated day of the year, after the first day of school of course, is the last.  June 18, for students and teachers alike, marks the beginning of a two-month period of endless possibilities.

“During the school year I am super busy so I do almost nothing fun,” said physics teacher Deborah Waldron, sharing a sentiment that is often heard within the school walls.

However, when Waldron is not jumping off of lab tables and exploring hands-on physics principles with her students, she is a summertime adventurer.

“In the summer [my family and I] do a lot of camping.  Our most extraordinary trip so far was when we were out at the Grand Tetons… With a summer break you are able to go on big, bold adventures.  This upcoming summer, my family is planning on driving out west to spend six to eight weeks camping.”

Waldron emphasized, “Even though [teachers] work on a 10-month schedule, we practically work a 12-month schedule within those 10 months.  We spend a good amount of the school year being exhausted both physically and mentally so we need those time periods to relax.”

Clearly, while these teachers love their professions, they also love their escapes.

 

 

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Teachers: Uncovered