McClung driving towards a new year


Julia Shearer

Ms. Brittany McClung makes herself at home in C007.

You’d have to be crazy to look forward to an hour drive to and from work, every single day. After five years of this, Ms. Brittany McClung decided it was time for a change. Getting a fresh start at North Penn, McClung is carrying her knowledge and her compassion towards her students into this new school year.

McClung graduated from West Chester in 2017, and went on to teach at Owen J. Roberts High School for five years before deciding it wasn’t the best fit… for good reasons.

“Going to OJR, it was an hour on the turnpike in the morning and afternoon, and that just kind of wore on me. I knew that I didn’t want to move out into that area- I wanted to stay here, so I saw that the position opened up and was like, it’s perfect,” McClung explained.

The commute isn’t the only change surrounding McClung’s new role at North Penn. Transitioning to a school twice the amount of students and staff can be a little overwhelming to a newcomer.

“Within the classroom I would say that I don’t see a lot of differences, but the school in general is a lot bigger… There’s a lot more teachers, a lot more administrators than there were there, so it is a little bit overwhelming when you first come in and you’re just like ‘I don’t know anybody’ and you feel like it’s going to take you a while to get to know people,” McClung elaborated.

Seeing all new faces, and a lot of them, is a piece of this job that McClung is still getting used to, and rightfully so.

“I would say it’s a little bit intimidating. When there were less [teachers] it was a little bit more close knit, so you just kind of knew people a little bit better. I will say that everybody that I’ve met here has been so nice and so welcoming that I know that if I did have a question that I could go to anybody and they would answer it,” she said.

McClung had aspirations of teaching since she was in third grade. In high school, though, after learning from her high school physics teacher, everything seemed to fall into place, and she decided on her future.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to be a teacher…High school was when I decided that I wanted to be a high school science teacher,” McClung explained. “I really liked the relationship that [my teacher] had with his students and just the curriculum and everything. That’s really when I knew I wanted to be a physics teacher.”

Not many have dreams of working with kids for a living, let alone with teenagers, but the age and intelligence of her students was what drew McClung to the job.

“I really like the relationships that students can form with teachers. They’re more like young adults than just children so you can really talk to the students,” McClung said. “I like that you can have more of an adult relationship with them and kind of help them navigate their role outside of the classroom, and you’re not just teaching them inside of the classroom.”

For McClung, her goal is not only to give her students a good education, but also to give them whatever support is needed, no questions asked.

“I always try to make my students just feel comfortable with me. I try to help them out with just life skills… If they have an issue, knowing that they can come to me and talk to me about it, I’m not going to go share it with anybody else,” McClung said.

Not everyone has the chance to work with high schoolers full-time, therefore most don’t have the opportunities to see things from a teenagers perspective anymore. McClung, however, feels that she is learning more than ever from the kids around her, in so many different ways.

“When you’re going through high school, you have your own experience. That’s how I saw high school when I first became a teacher; through my experience,” McClung said. “Once you become a teacher you learn what other kids are involved in, or maybe they need to work more than you, or maybe they’ve traveled a lot so they can bring different perspectives,”

The students are not the only ones benefiting from being in a classroom atmosphere. McClung continues to learn from the students around her, and they help open her eyes to what is really out there in her students’ lives.

“[Being a teacher] opens your eyes to different ways of living, different family dynamics…I learn all kinds of stuff. You just gain more perspective and you’re just a little bit more understanding from learning from everybody,” she explained.

The school year is still young, and McClung is enthusiastic about what’s to come.

“I’m really looking forward to forming relationships with the students… I’m really looking forward to sporting events, just that kind of stuff: seeing the school spirit and the things that happen here throughout the year. I like seeing that kind of stuff,” McClung concluded.