A New Journey Begins

PCH Spanish Teacher Moves Districts for Administrative Position



Ben Flunker poses for a picture.

Sid Moss, Guest reporter

Ben Flunker teaches Spanish levels one and two at Parkway Central High School. Though, Flunker’s time here at Parkway is soon coming to an end. Starting next year he will take a major step in his career.

“I have accepted an assistant principal position in the Webster Groves School District,” Flunker said.

In the lead-up to his decision to leave, Flunker has been balancing many responsibilities. While being a full-time Spanish teacher, Flunker also juggles being a parent to a newborn and earning his Ph.D.

Being a teacher in itself takes up a lot of time. According to a Forbes survey of 686 teachers, when asked about the amount of time they spend working outside of school hours, “30% said that they spent 1 to 3 hours, [while] 31% said they spent 3 to 5 hours.” With a seven-hour day at the building, teaching is a time-consuming job with a multitude of responsibilities such as grades.

“Teachers also focus a lot of their time in planning because we aren’t given plans for what we do with you all [students],” Flunker said. “We have to create all that. So not only am I doing schoolwork at home, I am doing my job, which is to create lesson plans and also, yes, I grade a lot of things.”

Flunker also has a newborn baby to take care of, something many parents consider a full-time job. The responsibilities of a parent are numerous, and similar to teaching, extremely time-consuming.  Parenting is a commitment that Flunker also has to juggle with school and teaching.

“It’s also difficult because I have an 11-month-old child at home, so my life is very busy,” Flunker said.

For his degree, Flunker is in the University of Missouri Saint Louis (UMSL) doctoral program. Unlike an undergraduate program, a doctoral program is a content-heavy and in-depth achievement.

“It’s difficult, you know, graduate-level courses are no joke. They require you to read a lot and write a lot,” Flunker said.

While his degree makes time sparse, it is directly tailored to make him a better teacher. His goal in the doctoral program is to study equity in education.

“The degree itself is the culmination of all of the studies I’ve done in education. My degree focuses on strictly Educational Leadership policy, and philosophies regarding any kind of educational pedagogy and how we view overall education. So I focus the majority of my studies in social justice, that means equity, inclusion and diversity for all students, and how we make education equitable,” Flunker said.

Just as his degree directly relates to being a teacher, it also directly correlates to his move to an administrative role in education.

“This will have a direct impact for sure on the work I’m doing in my Ph.D. program because I have been taking classes and learning about different leadership opportunities and how to imply leadership in the academic community,” Flunker said.

Although the change to administration is similar for his degree, it will be a significant change for Flunker. He will no longer be in the classroom and he will be moving to a new district.

“My job responsibilities will push out towards the school, rather than just be dedicated to my classroom students,” Flunker said. “That’ll be the biggest change, but also just the idea of being a leader for students as well as staff members is also a big noticeable difference.”

Being a teacher and a student at the same time gives Flunker a unique perspective on education as a whole. His insight of both sides gives him an understanding of the benefits and rewards of such rigorous work and has left him with many lessons that can act as advice for students of all levels.

“I will encourage students to really understand that getting an education is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Take advantage of any type of educational opportunity you can, it doesn’t mean that you have to go to advanced learning after high school,” Flunker said. “I highly suggest any type of education that you can get your hands on. It can be one of the best things you can do for your life.”

After his long journey at Central of being a teacher, student, and parent, leaving Parkway is a deeply emotional thing for Flunker. After 14 years in the district.

“It’s extremely bittersweet for me. Switching districts can be challenging in a way that I won’t know many people, but it will be a very exciting opportunity for me to get to know a whole new school community,” Flunker said. “I will miss this school. It’s students and the staff. The school community has been a huge part of my life as an educator. And I will cherish those memories very fondly. Thank you.”


This is an updated version of the story that ran in the May 2023 Corral titled “Learning While Teaching.”