Burlington High School’s English department welcomed two teachers this Fall: Natalie Burgess and Alex Macomber. The Register sat down with them to share some stories and some of their quirks too.
How would you describe your experience starting this new chapter during COVID-19?
Burgess – “This is my sixth year teaching, so starting this it’s just crazy. I feel like I have to teach computer school before I can teach my content and I was not trained in computer school. It’s a lot but it’s kind of exciting because we get to learn so much new stuff and all the kids are learning incredible skills that they are going to need in the workforce. I feel like we are all going to come out of it better”
Macomber – “When school ended and we all got sent home last spring that was kind of my first step into this world and so that went okay. I feel better prepared this time around believe it or not. It is a new school but I student-taught here in 2017. I feel like I’m doing okay. I’m bummed but I’m not as stressed as I was in the spring.”
What inspired you to get into teaching?
Burgess – “Always thinking about how I could use all the things I have been through in my life for best use. I realize how horrible being a teenager could be and I hated high school so much. I think that it helps me in terms of empathy and understanding where kids are coming from and I felt that I can help them and offer them the most.”
Macomber – “I had a phenomenal Language Arts teacher in 7th grade named Mr. Thomson. We had to write a report on what we wanted to be when we grew up. We had taken those corny surveys and all of mine always came out as teacher and I knew I liked it and I wanted to be Mr. Thomson when I grew up and I knew it and I did it.”
What has surprised you most about the BHS community?
Burgess – “What surprised me most so far is how supportive it is. I have an incredible department that I work for and I feel extremely blessed that I am part of it.”
Macomber – “It’s this beautiful melting pot of students and faculty, just the daily interactions you learn something new or you meet someone new. You cross paths with someone who has a different outlook as you. I like that. There is always something new and something happening.”
What is your favorite ~genre~ of food?
Burgess – “I’m vegan so that narrows down quite a bit. But it’s going to have to be dessert. Before I went vegan I was about 95% pizza.”
Macomber – “Today Italian sounds good.”
Beach or forest?
Ms. Burgess – “The beach, it’s my happy place.”
Mr. Macomber – “Beach.”
Top three musical artists of all time?
Burgess – “Janis Joplin for sure. Pink Floyd. I live through music so you asked one of the hardest questions of all time. Let’s go Led Zeppelin for the third.”
Macomber – Ariana Grande, Ariana Grande, and Ariana Grande. Beyonce in second place, Lauv in third place.
What is the first word that pops into your head when you think of yourself in high school?
Burgess – “First word that came to mind was slacker. I wasn’t going to go to college. It was a last-minute decision. I was a first-generation college student. End of my senior year I got offered a singing scholarship and so I went to get a degree in music theatre and dance on a whim.”
Macomber – “Speedy, if I could go back I would have slowed things down. I had my hand in a lot of cookie jars in high school. I just felt like a was moving quickly a lot of the time and if I could go back I would have slowed down and just enjoyed the moment a little more.”
Would you ever wanna be on a reality show?
Ms. Burgess – “No, no, no”
Mr. Macomber – “Absolutely, hands down, yes! I am a reality TV junkie.”
On a random Saturday at noon, what could we find you doing?
Ms. Burgess – “Probably bike riding or boating. I like to paddleboard, something near the water.”
Mr. Macomber – “I will be perusing the clothing racks at the store with a Starbucks coffee in my hand.”
Do you have any hidden talents?
Ms. Burgess – “I can do the Carlton. That’s a hidden talent.”
Mr. Macomber – “I read tarot cards. That’s a talent!”
Morning bird or night owl?
Ms. Burgess – “I’m a morning person.”
Mr. Macomber – “Night owl.”
Do you journal?
Ms. Burgess – “I do, almost daily, I keep a gratitude journal and keep a journal too.”
Mr. Macomber – “I do. I have a five-year journal so every night, before bed, I open and I read about what happened a year ago and then I write in for 2020.”
Ms. Burgess – “They are all Buddhist because I live by a Buddhist philosophy of compassion and kindness and trying to be the best version of myself. All of my writing is in Sanskrit, things that remind me to be a better person. On my side I have a phoenix, for me. It’s very special because I’ve been through a lot and I always get back up and that’s what they say about the phoenix. She burns to ashes and rises from the ashes and starts a new beginning and I feel that it’s never too late to start over and to try again.”
Mr. Macomber – “I’m too much of an indecisive character to put something permanent on my body. My mind changes too often.”
If you could only teach one lesson what would it be?
Ms. Burgess – “I would teach a lesson on how to love yourself. I don’t think there’s anything more special and important than that. So if I could teach that to people I would do it in a heartbeat.”
Mr. Macomber – “I really like creative writing. I don’t know exactly what I would do, but something like that. I would want them to write creatively and be fantastic.”
Is there anything else you would like your students to know about you?
Ms. Burgess “Sometimes I can seem scary, but I would like my kids to know that I am always open to talking and for them to know that they are available and approachable and open.”
Mr. Macomber – “Doors always open come say hi! I like talking. I’m a talker. My google meet is always open!”