The plunge into Tigerland


Photo by Oren Smith

Whitney Farmer teaches her freshman class geographical concepts. This is Farmers first year.

Story by Charli Hueter, staff writer

Bloomburg High School. A lone building. Small, familial and cramped daily with bustling students in 1A hallways. Only two central highways separate kindergarten from high school, with even less space between freshmen and seniors. The entire campus, elementary and all, spans the length of two football fields. For Whitney Farmer, this was the first and only public school she had worked at.

Ms. Farmer’s plunge into Tigerland was a demographic shift only a human geography teacher could properly admire. Bloomburg High School, at the peak of its enrollment, withholds an approximate population of 480 students. Texas High stands as the educational forum for over 1800 students.

“The fact that I get to teach an AP course is huge, because that is an opportunity I was never going to get at Bloomburg,” Ms. Farmer said. “I never got the option to teach something on a more advanced level there, because it wasn’t available. At the school I came from, you had one principal and you didn’t even have a true assistant principal. So the fact that here you have all of this administration, who have very particular things that they do, is very different.”

Ms. Farmer will be teaching courses on geography this year. At her former school, she was responsible for conducting classes on various primary studies.

“In the past I’ve taught all of the different subjects. So this year, since I’m only teaching geography, I want to learn more about it and make my classes even better for next year,” Ms. Farmer said. “I definitely want to become involved in this school. The amount of different classes you can take here, the different sports you get to participate in, the different groups you can join — all of that is on a larger level here.”

Texas High’s diverse collection of viable curricula is part of what first intrigued Ms. Farmer. For a young teacher primed for scholastic action, it catered an appetizing menu of possibilities. When the time came to part ways with Bloomburg, she was willing and prepared.

“At a small school, there’s only so far you can move and only so much you can do. So if I wanted to push myself in my career, I had to leave at some point,” Ms. Farmer said. “Everyone had my back there. They all knew that this was what I needed to do.”

Ms. Farmer was no complete stranger to Texas High, however. If one were to consult an older yearbook, they might find that it’s a small world after all.

“My dad graduated from Texas High in 1969,” Ms. Farmer said. “He was the second group to graduate from this campus.”

She has many plans for her first year within Texas High. Among them, she intends to expound upon her love of history now that she has the opportunity to focus solely on her favorite subject.

“History has always been my first love. Now that I teach purely geography, I find it completely interesting,” Ms. Farmer said. “Things that happen in the world every single day have to do with geography. That’s why I think it is so important that students learn not just where places are located, but how we interact with each other. With globalization as it is today, and how connected we are, we’re always going to have this interaction.”

At a more local scale, Ms. Farmer also knows how to interact with students. Her idea of an optimal classroom is one that is both comfortable and compelled.

“I try to be up front with my students; very real with them. I try to make it more comfortable, but we’re not just going to have fun and games. We’re going to try to get stuff accomplished,” Ms. Farmer said. “I would say I’m very real with my students.”

Overall, the transition from Bloomburg was an advantageous step in the right direction for Ms. Farmer’s career. Nestled within the myriad of hallways spanning the school, she has learned to adjust herself to her new surroundings.

“It’s great,” Ms. Farmer said. “With the classes I get to teach this year, I get to push not only myself, but my students, further in their education.”