Retiring English teacher offers advice to seniors


Grace Carr, Editor in Chief

The global pandemic has officially hit Cascade County, and individuals are all being affected in different ways. Within the school district, the class of 2020 said goodbye to what could be their final days of high school, and educators said goodbye to hands-on teaching methods. But for one teacher, saying goodbye to the classroom was a little harder.

Scott Clapp teaches English 7-8 and AP English Literature and Composition at Charles M. Russell High School. He earned the majority of his undergrad in English and history at the University of Great Falls – now the University of Providence – and later attended Walden University Distance Learning. He received his master’s degree from Tiffin University Distance Learning in humanities with an emphasis in literature.

Clapp is currently at the end of his 23rd year at CMR. He taught English and social studies for two years between CMR and Great Falls High School, but he switched to CMR exclusively in his third year. He has had the opportunity to teach all grade levels, but greatly enjoys working with seniors.

“Seniors have excellent conversation about good literature,” Clapp said. “They’re smart, so it makes it fun for me, and I don’t feel like I’m working when I’m teaching.”

Unfortunately, the transition to remote learning has put a strain on what Clapp values about a classroom setting. 

“It’s tough not to have the face-to-face discussion,” he said. “I value face-to-face the most for discussing, interacting, and bouncing ideas off one another.”

Clapp has used his personal online learning experiences to create a platform where students can still have discussions with their classmates through online threads and the occasional Zoom meeting. 

“It’s challenging even with the technology we have,” he said. “It’s not as fun of a dynamic. We can learn well, but it’s not as engaging, and some kids are struggling. We deal with it the best we can.”

Clapp will retire from teaching at the end of this school year. He plans to continue fly-fishing, fly-tying, and working part-time at a shop where he can continue to grow his interests.

He gave a few words of advice to his students.

“To outgoing seniors […] take the lessons that you’ve learned in school and as a result of experiencing this particular pandemic knowing that the only true way to succeed is through effort. Nothing is meaningful unless a total effort is put into it, so work hard, be kind, do your best and life will work itself out. We all know where we end up — it’s the time in between that matters.”