Over the hills and far away: Ms. Melanie

As the academic year comes to an end, several staff members prepare to leave.  Hence, The Woodstocker caught up with some of them to dig into their thoughts and future endeavors

Ms. Melanie Reichwald, a long time fixture in the AP English classroom, is leaving after six years teaching at the school. Well known for her interactive teaching style, humorous attitude, and delicious home-baked goods, she will understandably be very much missed by her students as well as her peers.

Having previously only taught English at the college level, Ms. Melanie chose to come to Woodstock after talking its representatives at an international school job fair, and based on how “Mr. Anderson and the school website made Woodstock look cool and unique, so I moved.”

“I didn’t know what to expect, having been in the U.S. bubble,” she said, “so it was a definite culture shock to have to get used to spiders in the bathrooms and the wet monsoons.”

Looking back, Ms. Melanie feels her personal life and “teaching persona” have both been profoundly shaped by her Woodstock experience. She said, “I got to have much more friendly relationships with students. My values were also reshaped here, as I began to want more simple things for my family, and especially my daughter.” 

However, she especially talked about the students she’s taught. “They have fun personalities, and it’s been fun teaching them,” she said.

This feeling should be returned, as Ms. Melanie is famous among students for her attention and care, giving her students a spreadsheet with her free timings at the beginning of the year so they can schedule sessions whenever they need help. She’s even been willing to add sessions outside of these slots.

Unfortunately for them, Ms. Melanie will be leaving soon to return to her home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“My parents are in their seventies, and Chloe [Ms. Melanie’s daughter] is their only grandkid,” she said. “I want to bring us nearer to them.”

Looking back on her experience, she said that she would miss her students in particular, saying that, “I hope students will remember that I cared. I tried a lot to show that.”

This message did come across, as can be attested to by Faisal Qadir, Class of 2019, who said, “Ms. Melanie works a lot for us and is always ready to give us suggestions and feedback on our work.”

His views are echoed by Ved Maddison, Class of 2019, who said, “Ms. Melanie excels at what she does. She taught me writing skills I’ll use for years to come. I’ll miss her.”

The loss will be not only a blow to her students but also to the English department, especially since Ms. Dyson, another much loved English teacher, is also leaving this year.

With the unexpected loss of 26 teachers this year —  a considerable shock to most departments — one can only hope that the school will be able to find teachers like Ms. Melanie to replace them, who truly care about their students and want them to succeed.

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