After four years of working at City and Country, Pete Weiss, the XIIsP teacher, will leave our community at the end of the 2018-19 school year. He will be going to the Browning School, an independent school for boys, and will be teaching sixth and seventh-grade History.
Pete said that he will never forget the first time he taught at C&C. “My first impression took place when I came to give my demo lesson.” During his demo lesson, which was in the 2014-15 school year, he taught the XIIsS group. “The students were all just really engaged, welcoming, and warm, and it made me feel very comfortable very quickly,” Pete said.
However, the real question is: why is Pete leaving? “I have really enjoyed my time here, but I am really excited to work in a K-12 school where kids don’t have to worry about the high school process. There is an eerie feeling hanging over the XIIs’ heads in my classroom and it’s not a very pleasant feeling to witness. I am also really excited to teach American history, which I will be teaching at Browning and it is something I have not done before. Later down the road, I might even be teaching high school students,” Pete said.
Browning has a “very different” environment compared to C&C, said Pete. “It’s a very traditional school. It’s also an all-boys school. It’s in the Uptown area. I think that there will be a big cultural shift and there is a lot I don’t know about what it will entail. I will be working in the History department, which is new. There is so much that will be new, too much to even remember. I am both anxious and excited about my future at Browning,” Pete said.
Although Pete has not been at C&C for a relatively long time, he still acquired many memories throughout his journey at our school and will undoubtedly be missed by his colleagues and former students. Although Pete cannot choose a single memory to be his favorite during his time at C&C, he remembered an enjoyable time during his first year as the XIIs teacher. “We had only 12 students, and one day there was only four of them at school.” Everyone else in Pete’s class was sick that day, and it was nicknamed “the XIIs Plague” by that year’s XIs and XIIIs. “We got cupcakes and watched a movie since there was really nothing we could with two-thirds of the class missing. We had six kids the next day, so it wasn’t a really productive week.”
After accepting the job as the next XIIs teacher, Pete “was not familiar with teaching with progressive education,” he said. However, he adapted to C&C’s unique pedagogy. He picked up the nuances of teaching in a progressive school gradually. “I’ve enjoyed my time here and I’ve learned a lot. Before I worked here, I didn’t know a lot about progressive education, and I’ll take away a lot from here. Especially how independent the students here are, such as when they are choosing their own topics to research at the start of a specific unit, and the partner-like relationship between the teacher and student.”
Pete said, “Learn as much as you can from the students, that’s my advice to the incoming XIIs Group Teacher.”
Seamus O’Reilly, XIIIs, said, “I learned a lot in Pete’s class. He did not lecture us and look over us like a hawk as a teacher. He was always approachable at his desk and always asking us encouraging questions that helped us improve our work. He was more of a supervisor that loved to help and less like a boss barking orders at us to work on a topic that he chose in a specific way that he wanted.”
Pete fit in so well with our C&C Community that he practically quoted our founder, Caroline Pratt’s, everlasting words of wisdom. Those words were etched on the title of her book, that eventually defined the philosophy of City and Country School. Pete is a remarkable teacher and a great fit for our community. On behalf of the City and Country School: Thanks for everything, Pete.