May 24, 2018

An amazing year for the wrestling team -

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

My Experience at the Women’s March -

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

El Regreso Del Racismo -

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Parkland Shooting -

Friday, March 2, 2018

California Flu Crisis -

Friday, March 2, 2018

‘Rapping’ Up the Grammy Awards -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

¿Cuál Será el Futuro de DACA? -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Marcus Peters traded to the Rams -

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2018 Upcoming Movies -

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Instagram-Worthy Desserts of San Francisco -

Monday, February 26, 2018

Upcoming Season of Baseball -

Monday, February 26, 2018

Black History Month -

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Black Panther Review -

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Destructive Culture of Social Media -

Friday, February 23, 2018

Badminton season launches into action! -

Friday, February 23, 2018

LimeBike Takes Over! -

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

All Star Weekend Highlights -

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Chinese New Year Brought to SMHS -

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

San Mateo Volleyball Season Kicks Off -

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Van Jones Show:Jay-Z -

Friday, February 16, 2018

Ms. Burke the Book Lover

Ms. Burke has taught at San Mateo High for 26 years and she continues to love every moment of it.

I recently interviewed Ms. Burke, the AS and CP English teacher here at SMHS for 26 years, and asked her about her experiences here as a teacher. This is what she said.

Over the years, how have you seen San Mateo change? What’s remained the same?

Over the years I’ve seen the SMHS population demographic shift, which has shifted our priorities, class offerings and clubs. I’ve seen so many new and diverse clubs established and contributing to our ‘family’ in positive ways.

I see the same spirit (which is what we’re known for) that I’ve seen for 26 years. Although the Canned Food Drive used to be about triple the size and outcome it is now, I’ve seen other giving programs emerge like UNICEF and Girl Up! (and others I’m sure I’m missing). I also see more diverse participation in clubs and elected positions, which had been a weakness, I think, until now.

Of course the size of SMHS has increased dramatically this year, which I thought might have a bigger effect on the students; but I’ve noticed no complaints or issues. It has had a big effect on how the teachers must share space, but the students seem unfazed.

Another change has been with having a permanent, credentialed librarian, which the district no longer funds. We had one credentialed librarian years ago who brought so much life and focus to the library that it became the center for the school. Now, I mainly see kids playing cards and talking a lot or just messing around on the computers. There are so many great books to just look through, especially art and photography books, that it’s shame they go unused.

I mourn the loss of some courses and vocational tracks, like AP Art History and Latin, the horticulture class and the automotive and woodworking programs, which were housed in the M building. Those classes were popular and offered skills. Students could acquire skills they could use directly after high school. But our cooking classes, hospitality program, biotech classes and internships, and dance classes have all expanded, which also lead to opportunities directly out of high school. The arts and electives always suffer with enrollment expansions with no funding to compensate. I love that we’ve added APES, the AP studio art class, the art certificate, Digital Photography, and more dance classes.

One big change I’ve seen is the use of technology and the acquisition of so many computer labs and carts. This one-to-one digital increase had to happen to keep up with the world, but I think we’ve been way ahead and well-equipped in this need to remain current. Although I’ve been teaching for over 32 years (I taught in an alternative private school in the ’80’s), my going digital this year has felt like beginning again as a new teacher. I’ve changed almost everything I do and what the students do, in a good way. I can more easily track how hard they’re working, what they do and don’t  understand. They are working harder in my class, and I know they will be even more prepared for the world after high school, no matter what path the individual takes. Without this computer experience, students would not be as employable and educated.  I hope all of our students realize what a gift this is.

What makes San Mateo special enough to spend 26 years at?

If you had told me in 1991 that I’d still be at the same school until I retired, I wouldn’t have believed it. I would’ve thought there was no way, that I’d feel trapped and burnt out. But, I love this school and couldn’t imagine changing professions. Although we teachers do what we do for the students and make them the focus of our efforts and decisions, and although I think we have the kindest and most spirited students in the district, it is actually the faculty that keeps me going. I love the people I work with so much. I’ve observed other faculties and schools and have found them all lacking compared to us. The kids come and go (I’ve had over 3000 of them!), but the family of dedicated and engaging teachers remains. I hope the students see that as their biggest gift.

What’s one thing you hope to impart to your students before they graduate?

Parting advice for seniors—it doesn’t matter what job you get or what college you attend, it’s more important what you do when you get there. That is what will define the experience and, by extension, define you. A good education isn’t something you receive, it’s something you do.

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrEmail this to someone