Teaming up

Weiss and Gebhard will co-teach next school year.


Flynn Jenkins

English teacher Melissa Gebhard and social studies teacher Adam Weiss are joining forces next year.

As Parkway moves into a direction to create more personalized learning options for students, English teacher Melissa Gebhard and social studies teacher Adam Weiss have teamed up to create a combined class between Honors English 1 and AP Human Geography, called “Geolish.” 

This combined class creates an environment where students can learn and understand more about the world we live in. 

“I hope this will spark curiosity and help students see the world differently,” Gebhard said.

Gebhard has personal experience with combined classes as she taught one a few years ago with former South teacher, Amber Rice. That class was called Histolish. Gebhard said she really missed teaching that class and had been trying to get back to it. 

“I just love collaboration,” she said. “Having two teachers really helps create a more diverse classroom geared toward helping students learn.”

Although Gebhard has taught a combined class before, this is Weiss’ first experience teaching in a cross curriculum class. The biggest struggle they face teaching this class will be that the curriculum is being “built from the ground up.” 

 “What excites me the most is that it’s different and I get to team teach which I’ve never done before and work in a different environment and space and try something different,” Weiss said.

Honors English 1 and AP Human Geography’s essential questions often relate, which led to Gebhard and Weiss’ collaboration. Along with other teachers, they are a part of the “Personalized Learning” team for South and are always looking for ways to offer more opportunities for students. 

Gebhard describes this class as, “not a one-size-fits-all approach to education but not replacing traditional education.” 

Gebhard said students can feel tied to one subject in a classroom; Geolish creates a space where students can learn from two subjects at once. 

“Gebhard and I have been working the past year plus and trying to figure out ways to combine- a lot of professional development together- looking at books and supplement or reading that combines both- easier than we’ve thought” Weiss said.

This class, although referred to as one class, is technically two with two separate grades, however, since they have been working together to create a similar curriculum and assignments, they have the opportunity to teach separately or lecture together for the period. 

Although students will have the option to opt out of this class, Gebhard is very hopeful as she says, “many students have already requested [the course].”

Weiss and Gebhard have been working on this class for a long time, Gebhard explains that they started creating conjoined assignments since last summer. They began creating the curriculum with a basic skeleton of the class and slowly started filling it in throughout  the summers and school year. 

“What I love about literature is how it teaches you about humans and how you can do better,” Gebhard said. 

Gebhard said she looks forward to teaching with Mr. Weiss.

 “We have good balance–he is more extroverted and I am more introverted,” she said. 

Overall, students who’ve missed Histolish have the opportunity to enroll in a new combined class where you get many benefits such as, working with more than one teacher to receive better understanding, and establishing a more diverse learning opportunity. 

When asked how this class will create an impact on students, both teachers agreed, “we hope this is something different, hopefully it will spark curiosity and help students see the world differently.”