When I was applying to colleges, I was lucky. Among my friends, I was one of the only ones who knew exactly what job I was going to pursue. Since the start of high school, I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher. But at first, I figured it would be in math – for a good while, I preferred math to English, to be honest. But in my sophomore year, my English teacher was taught by the best teacher I’d have in my four years at Wahconah Regional High School in the hills of Dalton, Massachusetts. My math teacher… well, I firmly believe you should not disparage teachers. But I went into college as an English major, and have been teaching literature ever since. Sophomore year – it can make all the difference.
I attended Boston College, and spent a year studying in the Advanced Studies in England program in Bath, England. Everyone, everyone, everyone should take at least a semester abroad during college if it is at all possible. Upon graduating from college, I immediately began teaching at Burlington High, and now I am happy to be teaching in Hopkinton for my third year. This year marks my 19th year teaching English, with my only year away from the classroom was when I was earning my master’s degree at NYU. I’ve taught every level but AP, and I’ve taught all grades from freshmen to seniors. I’ve taught sophomores every single year throughout that stretch as well. I’ve also taught seven different English electives. I’ve taught Creative Writing for over ten years, and in the past, my students have been published in a wide range of literary magazines, and have done well in statewide contests. I am also the advisor to Marginal, Hopkinton High’s literary magazine (you should probably join), which has already begun to receive national recognition in the past two years. For other school extracurriculars, I was the freshmen softball coach at Burlington for around eight seasons or so, and I created a Poetry Club, ran our school’s Poetry Out Loud competition, and was the advisor to the regretfully short-lived Horrible Movie Society.
What I enjoy so much about teaching English are those moments when I see students make a clever observation about a text that we are reading, especially when it’s one that I’ve never noticed myself, or one that reveals a moment of honest discovery. The reason why, in my own sophomore year, I switched from being a math person to being a book person was largely because of how enthusiastic my teacher was, and how much he urged us to learn on our own. It was because of his passion that I began to see the value of literature as an intellectual pursuit, not just a quiet pastime. I truly feel that the reason why we read is because it allows us to know ourselves, and the world around us better, even if only in small increments. But that knowledge is priceless. In my own way, my hope is always to pass along that enthusiasm and that path to self-discovery to my students.
In my life outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my wife and two young daughters. I am now their softball coach, and my oldest daughter is sure she will be the first female player in the Majors. That’s great for me, because I love baseball; I have recently played for a few seasons in a moderately competitive fast-pitch league, and I enjoy going to games at Fenway, although my allegiance is with the Royals and the Pirates. My older daughter, echoing my randomness perhaps, is an Oakland A’s fan. My younger daughter is not as keen on watching baseball or playing softball, but she is an animal enthusiast, and she’s becoming a skilled horseback rider. We also have a dog. She is very demanding and doesn’t like it when we don’t pay attention to her. But she always loves being with us. There’s something to be said for that. I sometimes write poetry and have been published a few times (sometimes in serious publications, sometimes in less serious ones), although I don’t seem to be able to find the time to write as much anymore. I am trying to teach myself Spanish, as I am currently the only person in my family who isn’t bilingual. And I’m including the dog in that statement.
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