The school newspaper of Oakville High School


The school newspaper of Oakville High School


The school newspaper of Oakville High School


A preview of teaching at OHS

Olivia Novak transitons from long term sub to full-time teacher
Maria Parisi

Despite being in her first-year, World History and American Government teacher Olivia Novak is very familiar with the students and staff at OHS. Being a past graduate in 2019 and long-term substitute teacher during the 2022-2023 school year. 

“Even though I graduated from OHS myself, being a long-term sub really helped me to understand how things around the school and district worked, and also gave me an idea of what full-time teaching was like in a more real sense,” said Novak. “This time also helped me to learn the names of the faculty and staff here at OHS.”

During her final semester at Missouri State University, Novak moved back home to student-teach at Ladue Horton Watkins High School when presented with the opportunity to be a long-term substitute teacher at OHS. 

“Mr. Ries had known that I was completing the final stage of my education degree and when Mr. Shinabargar announced that he would be going on paternity leave. Mr. Ries suggested me for the job of Mr. Shinabargar’s long-term sub,” Novak said. “Mr. Ries called me to let me know I would be getting the position as I was walking in my graduation ceremony.” 

Regardless of the fact that there was no open position in the Social Studies department at the time, Novak used her time as a long-term substitute teacher to gain experience and advice from the other teachers in the department. 

“During my long-term sub position, there was not a single teacher within the Social Studies department who did not go out of their way to help me. Everyone was always available and ready to help with lessons, stuff going on around the school, and tips for securing a job when I was still looking,” Novak said. “Mr. Ries and Mr. Shinabargar helped me practice for interviews; Ms. Stanley, Ms. Conroy, Mr. Goodwin, and Mrs. Keence all gave me tips for a good interview and what they thought would look good on a resume; Mrs. Beck, Mrs. Hartmann, Mr. Aboussie, and Mr. Gerdes all encouraged me to ask people to observe my lessons, and everyone else cheered me on or helped in other ways.” 

Even though Novak was once a student at OHS, the time spent with her colleagues in the Social Studies department helped her learn the school as a teacher where she was able to get a head start and develop relationships with students before her first year of teaching. 

“From teaching both Mr. Shinabargar and Mrs. Hartmann’s classes, I was able to meet and teach a large group of students in a pretty short amount of time,” said Novak. “This is truly such a perk because even though I am still technically a first year teacher, a lot of students already knew me and this made the adjustment of the new school year so much easier. I still say hi to many of the students I had when subbing.”

Mr. Shinabarger went on paternity leave then came back, then Mrs. Hartman left for maternity leave giving Novak another available long term sub position at OHS. 

“Last year..she exceeded everyone’s expectations and just did a phenomenal job. This year as a first year teacher, she has continued to surpass everyone’s expectations and just do a great job,” John Ries said. 

Novak quickly integrated herself into OHS and already has plans for what she’d like to do for the school in the future. 

“I hope to eventually qualify to teach AP and Dual Credit courses to help more students get college credit in a more accessible way, and I also would love to introduce an elective course about Native American history at some point in my career,” said Novak. 

With Novak’s positive experience of being a long-term substitute teacher, she highly recommends others do the same. 

“If someone is wanting to become an educator I would 100 percent recommend taking a long-term substitute position,” said Novak. “It is a great way to get more experience with teaching, make connections within the world of education, and meet amazing students, colleagues, and friends.”

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About the Contributor
Maria Parisi
Maria Parisi, Reporter
Hi, Oakville! My name is Maria Parisi, and I am a senior at Oakville High School. This is my first year on the newspaper staff and my second year on the broadcast staff. Along with my like for journalism, I participate in cross country, swim and track. I look forward to learning more about journalism this year!

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