Teacher Inspires Magic

Upon walking into room A29 at WTHS, one is immediately drawn to dozens of posters covering the walls. Standard white-brick is exploding floor-to-ceiling with art, inspirational quotes, colorful sayings, playbills, and other posters. This is the classroom of 11th and 12th grade English teacher Abigail Molotsky, a successful educator of 26 years, who is as unparalleled as the adornments of her room.
Before teaching at WTHS, Mrs. Molotsky taught in Philadelphia and Delaware, and co-owned a theater company called Triple Threat Performing Arts for fifteen years. She began teaching at WTHS in 2001. In her time here, she has taught 11th and 12th grade English, Exploring the Theater, Actor’s Studio, and SAT Prep classes. She has advised Drama Club, the new Team Theater NJDFL Club, and is the head director of our Way Off Broadway Players plays and musicals. But this is not the extent of her contribution to WTHS. The real gift Mrs. Molotsky gives to our high-school is a passion for her profession.
“I just really love my job,” she says, “Every night I call my husband on the way home from work and tell him about all the wonderful things my students have done that day.”
Molotsky is skilled at spicing up the standard curriculum with more personal activities than lectures and classwork. In her Actor’s Studio class, she asks students to read aloud a monologue, speech, slam poem, or other work that represents an important part of their life or identity. The first time she ran this exercise in the 2016-2017 year, she found it triggered an intense emotional response and communal bond between students. Tears were shed, connections were made, and everyone left the room with a greater sense of not only self, but of their peers.
“It was such a great teacher moment,” she said.
This is only a small example of the difference Molotsky tries to make in her classroom.
“We do a lot about motivation, and about finding who you are,” she said.
Greatly inspired by the 2007 movie Freedom Writers, a white tape line splits her room in half for an exercise in which students can become unified with others who share similar life experiences. The posters splattering the walls of her room give touching messages of inspiration and self-improvement. All of this is meant to teach students something personal at a time where curriculum often centers around facts and numbers. Molotsky finds helping students in this way to be the most rewarding part of her job.
“I love seeing kids become better people. It is amazing to me to see kids succeed in places they might not have before, to see them blossom in ways they might not have before,” she said about her WTHS experiences. “My goal is to give them the tools they need to become who they want to be.”
As a teacher and a director, Molotsky attempts to leave an impression on every student with whom she works. Her commitment to teaching is evident not only in the performance of her students, but in the performance of the actors she directs in the WOBP productions. Her success as a director has already been established with the widespread praise of 2016’s production of Grease and 2017’s In the Heights. Her next project, Alice @ Wonderland is a modernized version of the acclaimed classic.
“[Alice] is going to be hilarious. It’s really funny with super fun music. This is definitely going to be a great show,” she says.