A Teacher’s Dilemma: What to Do With Those Five Free Minutes?

By Gabrielle Benacka, PAW Writer

From brewing ciders to snow-shoeing to running outside (as long as it’s above zero), Providence Academy teachers have some interesting creative outlets. Students sometimes forget that teachers have lives outside the classroom.  What student hasn’t been startled by seeing one of their teachers in the grocery store?  When they finally pack their briefcases and head out the door, PA teachers do a lot more than veg out on the sofa.

Ian Skemp, one of the history teachers in the Upper School, is a man of many talents. One of these talents is brewing cider and beer. “I don’t have much time for hobbies. I like to brew cider, though. It only takes 15 minutes of prep time followed by two weeks of waiting for it to ferment. It’s science!” Skemp’s free time is usually consumed by his family, but from time to time he likes to ponder over hot drinks. “You should try it sometime,” Mr. Skemp suggests.

David Harman, the Upper School Dean, is an avid runner. Sun or snow, he is out on the running paths. “I ran a few times last year when it was around -5. Wasn’t fun,” Harman said. He likes to run as much as he can, but he says, “My general rule is to avoid the treadmill at all costs, so I try to get out as long as it’s above zero.” When Mr. Harman isn’t running, he is enjoying time with his wife and kids, and enjoys backpacking and cooking outdoors as well.

When Nicole Schafer, a Spanish teacher in the Upper School, has free time, one of the many things she likes to participate in is baking and watching Cake Boss with her daughter. However, when the weather permits her, she loves to go sledding and wants to try something new this winter. “I’m thinking about getting into snow-shoeing. I might as well embrace the weather, right?”, Schafer said. What a fun winter activity to try!

This goes to show teachers are busy outside of school. Not surprisingly, the number-one priority is their families, then sports, lounging around and so on. Many students forget their teachers have lives outside the classroom, and some don’t appreciate the time they take out of their chaotic lives to help students. All of us use our time differently, students and teachers. As Mr. Skemp puts it, “I have quite a bit of ‘free time,’ but it isn’t ‘me time’.”