Teacher Spotlight: Leaders of Lance

By Debarati Chowdhury


Ms. Eve Kaczmarczyk and Ms. Rebecca Sansotta have recently started teaching at New Hyde Park Memorial High School. Both are English teachers and the advisers for the Lance, the school yearbook.


Source by Kaitlyn Bell

Ms. Kaczmarczyk and Ms. Sansotta take a break from yearbook work in the English department.


Q: How did you both feel about your first year of teaching?

Ms. Rebecca Sansotta: It’s technically my first year in a full time teaching position, but I did teach last year at two different schools. I taught here for six months and at Herricks for three months. During the pandemic was definitely an interesting time to enter the profession. It definitely presented its own unique challenges, but it forced me to be a really creative teacher and to really work hard to engage students with different technology, which I’m really thankful for. It definitely was a time that helped me solidify that teaching was the thing that I was passionate about and that it’s a career that I can see myself in for many years to come.

Ms. Eve Kaczmarczyk: My first year of teaching was very exciting. I couldn’t wait to get started in September a few years ago. I was looking forward to meeting my students and teaching them things I am passionate about. It was awesome to finally be in a classroom, and I got to see my lessons that I thought of come to life and see how my students responded.


Q: How has your teaching style changed since your first year?

EK: My teaching style has changed since my first year in the sense that I’m always looking to improve my lessons for my students. I see what went well and what can be different the next time I teach the lesson and try to engage my students to think of creative activities.

RS: Transitioning to in-person teaching has been a huge adjustment but a really exciting adjustment. It’s giving an opportunity to have students work together a lot to get up, to use this space in the classroom, which I’m really grateful for. It’s given me new ways to allow students to engage with text, and that’s not necessarily sitting there and annotating; getting up, marking up paper, using actual, physical material that we haven’t been able to use for such a long time, so that’s been really exciting.


Q: What advice would you give to the new teachers on their first year teaching at Memorial?

EK: My advice for first year teachers would be to enjoy teaching and get to know the students. You will find it very rewarding to make connections and build relationships that last longer than a school year.

RS: I think the best advice I could give is don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s really scary sometimes to stand up in front of a room of 30 kids looking at you, but it’s really exciting when the thing that you try goes well.


Q: How does the pandemic affect the way you teach?

EK: The pandemic definitely changed the way I taught last year. My lessons were interactive in different ways: I relied more on technology such as Google Meet, Padlet and other collaborative apps such as Google Slides. This year, it was more about meeting the emotional needs of my students. I just wanted my students to know that I’m there for them and I want to help them.

RS: Yeah, I agree with Ms. K with just addressing students’ emotional needs. That has been kind of at the forefront, I think, of both our teaching and just making sure that everyone’s getting what they need at all times. I think it’s made me very aware of my students as people and it’s made me think really critically about the way I teach.


Source by Kaitlyn Bell

Ms. Kaczmarczyk and Ms. Sansotta enjoy working on the Lance together.


Q: Why did you both choose to advise Lance and how does it feel fulfilling your first year?

EK: I’ve always wanted to advise the Lance ever since I was a writer on it when I was in high school myself. This year, the opportunity presented itself and I decided to take it. It feels amazing fulfilling the first year. It gave me the opportunity to work with a small group of students to create something they will always remember, and I’m so proud of how hard the students worked on it.

RS: I’ve always been interested in the world of student publications. When I was in high school, I worked on my high school yearbook and was an editor on my literary magazine, which I loved. They were just amazing and formative experiences for me. Working on my high school yearbook and now working on the Lance has just brought back so many memories and been a very nostalgic time for me and I think for Ms. K too [EK: Yeah.]. With New Hyde Park, I’ve never seen a yearbook like this. The yearbooks that we make are unbelievable and the things that the students can do here, I’m constantly amazed at what they can do. The best part has definitely been pushing everyone to produce the best book that they can, but also getting to know the kids and building relationships. I feel like I know the senior class now, and I never had any of them as students.


Q: What high schools and colleges did you both attend?

EK: I went to New Hyde Park Memorial High School and went to Molloy College.

RS: I went to Walt Whitman High School and I earned a degree in English Literature from Hunter College and my masters in teaching from Queens College.


Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of school?

EK: My hobbies outside of school are running and reading. My favorite books to read are fiction and I’ve been reading a lot of murder mysteries lately, and I’ve been enjoying running outside since the weather's getting warmer.

RS: When I have time, I like to run. Ms. K and I have been doing some running together, so that’s been good. I like to travel a lot: I travel as much as I can, as often as I can. I also like to try new restaurants and hang out with my friends, see my family and I have a dog, all that good stuff.