As Valentine’s Day approaches, students will not be the only ones exchanging heart shaped boxes of chocolates and bouquets of flowers.
According to yearbook adviser and English teacher Amy Chapman, and her husband soccer coach and Spanish teacher Jimmy Chapman, a relationship in the high school workplace has both advantages and disadvantages.
“Students would try to set us up, and then realize we were already dating and then push us to get married. However, now that we’re an old married couple that doesn’t happen. Instead they’re just like ‘oh, I have your husband’ or the occasional ‘that’s not your brother?’ Which is kind of creepy,” Mrs. Chapman said. “It’s less drama-filled as far as the high school students are concerned now that we’re married. When we were dating it felt like we were perpetually in high school.”
Mrs. Chapman said that. in the begining, the worst part about the relationship wasn’t always the students’ gossip, but the faculty’s.
“The faculty is just as gossipy as the high school students are sometimes. It just magnified the gossip,” Mrs. Chapman said. “If there was a fight or a problem in the relationship, as there always is when two people are getting to know each other, there was no place to run.”
Unfortunately for Mr. Chapman, the high school work place was not optimal for courtship. So much so that he had to resort to lying to get Mrs. Chapman’s phone number.
“We first meet in a classroom of a teacher who no longer works here anymore, people used to eat lunch in there,” Mr. Chapman said. “I remember he got my phone number because he said ‘oh I lost my phone. I got a new phone, so I need everyone’s contacts.”
Samo office assistant Karen Radford is not surprised by the fact that couples form at Samo, given the fact that the faculty is like a family.
“There has always been kind of a closeness here. We have a lot of alumni, a sense of belonging and a lot of things in common,” Radford said. “There are activities that people meet each other at like all the sports, music events, and plays at Samo, which plays a big factor in bringing people together.”
Radford added that even after couples meet, Samo still plays a big part in their relationship, siting the example of basketball coach James Hecht and activities director Veronica Garcia-Hecht.
“It’s kind of our Samohi family, and we just feel a part of it. When they’re married we’re included,” Radford said. “I went to the weading of James Hect and Veronica Garcia-Hect. It was the wedding of the century.”
One of Samo’s newest married couples, Heather Wethern, Language Dept. Chair, and AP Psych teacher Charles Thun, would agree with Mrs. Chapman when it comes to the negative aspects of student interference.
“The worst part is students telling stories about each of us and trying to put words in each others mouths about something we said,” Thun said.
“I have had a student who pressured me to try to get him to change grades or accept late work,” Wethern said.
Though Thun and Whethern would not say that their inter-faculty relationship is all bad, adding that it makes scheduling is much easier.
“We can carpool and we have the summers off,” Whethern said. “We get off work at the same time so basically arranging social things is easier because of that,” Thun said.
Mr. Chapman also said that there are many similarities teacher relationships share with student relationships when it comes to the high school setting.
“There are certain parts that are identical. You have your friends who want to help you or talk to you and want to know what’s going on,” Mr. Chapman said. “There are definitely aspects that are the same. You go to games together and attend activities together. You try to sit together at pep-rallies.”
However with age comes wisdom — just ask a member of Samo’s oldest couple M-House assistant Leslee McGee.
“He comes to me instead of going to his own house office for things,” McGee said. “It’s annoying because he still considers me his wife here and makes me do all the extra work. One plus is we can drive together to work but we don’t.”