Teachers Talk

Long-Time Teachers Reflect on Why They Love PVHS

The teachers and staff members here are a huge part of what makes the school so special. While there are so many amazing new teachers on campus this year, some have been important members of the Sea King family for a long time.

“I was at Peninsula High School and came down in the fall of 2002 and helped reopen Palos Verdes High School,” psychology teacher Bryce Stoddart said. Stoddart grew up in PV and loves that he can “relate to the kids on a different level because [he] shares common experiences.”

Through teaching for so many years, Stoddart discovered that his favorite part is his “relationship with the kids and getting to know their hearts, their minds and their personalities. It’s also a really special thing when students come back to visit and they share their experiences and their life and how they have grown as human beings.”

“PVHS is a great school,” history teacher Louis Harley said. “I have always enjoyed the block schedule and I really like the kids that come here. Most of them have a great attitude towards school and learning and they’re very polite, hard working kids. I have always looked forward to coming back every year because it’s a fun place to work.

“[The most rewarding part is] the kids and seeing how well they do afterwards. My main job isn’t so much the concept, people probably won’t remember the French Revolution, but what they are going to remember is that they enjoyed a class, did well on the AP exam, and it helped them get ready for college.”

For many of these teachers, the rewards of the job are part of why they have been doing it for the amount of time they have.

Lorraine Norris, who has been teaching math and engineering at PVHS for 10 years, loves “feeling like [she] made a difference in [her students’] lives.”

“Sometimes kids will say, ‘Nobody at school has ever cared enough to ask me that or reached out to me,’” Norris said. “So feeling like something I did was good that day for them [is really rewarding].”

These teachers have taught many students and made an impact in each of those students’ lives. They understand that high school presents many challenges and can be really stressful for students at times.

“At the age you are right now, high school is the biggest thing you have done,” Norris said. “You have risen up to this point in life, so this is the biggest four years of your life so far. In a couple years, this isn’t going to be the biggest four years of your life anymore. It’s only one part of your life, and one day nobody’s going to care if you got straight A’s or not. Someday no one is even going to care what college you went to. Finding who you are, and finding happiness with who you are is so much more important than finding happiness with what you do.”

These teachers, who have seen so many students graduate and go on to do amazing things, have also seen those same students face challenges and ultimately succeed. 

“I can assure you that it’s not always going to be like this,” Stoddart said. “It will get better, and there’s a whole life beyond high school that is amazing so hang in there.”