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 Dalton, Massachusetts. My math teacher… well, I firmly believe you should not say negative things about 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. Upon graduating from college, I immediately began teaching at Burlington High, and other than a one-year departure to pursue my Master’s degree at NYU, I’ve been here ever since. This year marks my 16th year teaching English at BHS. During that time, I’ve taught every level but AP, and every grade but seniors. I’ve also taught seven different English electives, and this year, I’m teaching Public Speaking in the fall, and Contemporary Literature in the spring. I am also the advisor to Collab, the school’s literary magazine (you should probably join), and in my past here at BHS, I was the freshmen softball coach for around 8 seasons or so. I also run the Well-Read Devils, a program that purchases books for BHS students – you can get books for free. That’s a pretty good deal, you have to admit. If you’re interested, click on the “Get Free Books” tab on the top of this page.
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 play 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. And don’t you dare accuse me of jumping on any bandwagon. I’ve suffered enough already. We have also recently begun GeoCaching – it’s sort of like Pokemon Go, but without the imaginary beasts, and with more nature walks. You should try it. This past summer, we got a dog. She chews up all of our shoes, and bites at my children, but she’s also sitting here right next to me as I am typing this intro. There’s something to be said for that. I sometimes write poetry and have been published a few times, 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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