by: Annika Brown
Here at Wethersfield High School, the students go to class, listen, and engage with their teachers, but no one ever questions why and how those teachers got to this point. I sat down with three well-known teachers and discussed the reasons they chose their profession and how they managed their way into the classrooms of Wethersfield High School.
The first person I sat down with was Mr. Chatfield, who teaches Human Anatomy and Physiology as well as Integrated Science. When asked, “What made you realize you wanted to become a teacher?” Chatfield responded, “At a young age I fell into the role of being a teacher, as I had a younger sister who I wanted to help with everything.”
He later goes on to say that in high school, he realized he wanted to be a teacher because he could “help people in the subject matter that he loves.” His goal was to be a role model and help others. He also went on to explain that he had thought of other career options like a vet, but ultimately that did not fit his personality, but to be a teacher he said, “you get to be nice, caring, you get to help others, you get too coach and it was just the type of environment I felt I could best fit.”
In order to pursue this passion, he got his undergraduate degree in a subject he was passionate about, which was biology. Then he went on to further his education by obtaining his masters degree in education because as he puts it, “This was my way of saying, I really want to be a good teacher, and not only be the type of teacher that knows his subject matter, but be a teacher who reaches students and knows what to do, to be their best teacher.” He not only wants to be able to teach a subject that he is passionate about, but also reach students on a personal level and be there for them as a coach and mentor.
The second teacher I sat down with was Mr. Sand. Sand teaches primarily upperclassmen in Civics and Current Issues. When asked, “What led you to want to become a highschool teacher?” His initial response was, “Uhhh, I have no idea.”
Initially, I was confused by his response, but then he went on to explain that he had no intentions to become a teacher in high school or the first two years of college. He first thought he wanted to become a physical therapist, but then he said, “It kind of dawned on me that maybe this is something I should do. My dad was a teacher so it kind of just happened naturally.”
I then went on to ask him “ Do you have a passion for what you are teaching?” and he said, “I have a passion for whom I am teaching. I try to use history to help kids grow, help kids be better citizens, and to help them with some of the issues they have. It’s all about the kids. Always.” Mr. Sand has a clear passion and love for his students and wants to improve their lives in any way he can.
The last teacher I sat down with was Mrs. DeGray, who teaches America Through the Eyes of Women and Journalism. When asked, “What led you to want to become a teacher?” DeGray had said that she originally didn’t want to be a teacher. “Plan A was that I was going to be a Journalist. I was going to travel the world and be a reporter for a warzone, make a difference,” she saids. She later went on to say there were not many jobs available for what she was looking for and the jobs that were available, she would have to move across the country for.
This was not something she was interested in because, as she puts it, “I had already met my husband. We were already engaged and trying to start a family.” Because of this, she started to volunteer here at Wethersfield High School. She helped several teachers with the school newspaper and technical things around the school. She goes on to say, “One day someone asked me, ‘Hey! Why don’t you go back to school and become a teacher?’ So I did.”
She applied to the University of New Haven and did her teaching internship here at Wethersfield as a building sub. When asked, “Would you say you found a passion for teaching your subject area or the students?” Degray replied, “I think both because even though my background was originally in journalism and broadcast news, I was kind of on a stage wanting to inform people everyday, and I think that’s a lot of what teaching is. It’s helping others to recognize their potential.”
She even goes on to say, “I feel like I'm on a comedy show trying to sell my curriculum and content in the most entertaining way possible but also trying to help kids realize their potential and what they want to do with their lives.” DeGray went on to say that she couldn’t imagine doing anything else but teaching. Her ultimate goal was not to be a teache,r but she knows that this is where she was meant to end up. DeGray uses her knowledge of literature to teach kids and try to inspire them in any way she can.
These are just a few of the many teachers we have at Wethersfield High School. Each one of them had a different journey getting to where they are today, but what they all have in common is that they all care about the well being of their students and want them to succeed. Chatfield, Sand, and DeGray are all great examples of what it means to be an amazing teacher.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.