Providing Support and Safety in School Remains Priority

Mr. Bell helping junior Alaijah Reed-Wright with schoolwork.

Joseph Ortiz-Rivera

Mr. Bell helping junior Alaijah Reed-Wright with schoolwork.

When a student is having a bad day or struggling in school, who supports them?

While there are many supports available at Wilde Lake like Beyond School Hours and Advisory, behind all of those are the teachers who keep everything running.

Ms. Lienhard, a special education teacher who runs the Gold Room with Mr. Lienhard, and Mr. Bell, a special education teacher and a lacrosse coach, are two of the many teachers who act as a support system for many students, providing them with the help they need to navigate their high school careers. 

Their main roles being educators, both of these teachers say they are always willing to help students with academics. Senior Mert Sezer says that when he was struggling at the beginning of high school and getting bad grades, Mr. Bell was there for him when he needed it most.

“He told me I could do better and he knew I had potential,” said Mert.

Senior Khiree Levine getting science help from Ms. Lienhard. (Joseph Ortiz-Rivera)

Academics aside, another role of teachers is to support their students. Ms. Lienhard says she wants to make sure that her students “feel important” and makes it a point to ask about their interests. 

Mr. Bell uses a similar approach. He says he believes that teachers should level with their students. “Talking to students like normal people is important,” he said. 

Mr. Bell says it’s his mission to leave a good impression on students. “I like to make sure that every kid that I come across has a positive experience, and I want to understand who they are,” he said.

Part of getting students’ trust is creating a safe space. Ms. Lienhard wants her students to be able to trust her and come to her when they need the help.

“I like to ask them about things that interest them,” said Ms. Lienhard. “I will bring snacks that they enjoy so it can touch them in a place that shows that I am with them.” And students see these teachers’ effort.

“I feel safe around Ms. Lienhard,” said freshman Katie Chase, a Gold Room frequenter. “She’s someone I can talk to.”

To Ms. Lienhard, the students make her job worthwhile. “My students make me really happy,” she said. “If I weren’t at school, I would kind of worry about them and wonder if they are okay.”

A good teacher can be a very important figure in a student’s life. Some students don’t have a strong adult role model at home, and teachers can help fill that gap.

“I really didn’t have a father figure, but Mr. Bell helped me persevere,” said Mert. “He’s like a cool therapist type.”

Mr. Bell says when he was younger no one was by his side to support him and that he wanted to help the students in a way that his teachers couldn’t help him.

“Students are what keeps me going, not the adults,” said Mr. Bell. “I’ll do anything to be on [students’] side.”