If you ask Quincy Public School Teacher Greg Caswell '13, this upcoming school year only stands to gain from everything teachers have learned through the interchanging remote and hybrid models of teaching and learning that took place in the last academic year.
"There were so many positives to take away as an educator. The way we can organize, share, and create on the computer will be used as we move forward. I think technology is here to stay, in the education world, as it should," he says. "I also think we can do things more efficiently as a staff with meetings, teacher and home communication, and the overall organization of your lesson plans. I know the way I will be teaching, assigning homework, and communicating with students and families has changed in a great way after learning and trying new things this year."
The early childhood education major is marking his sixth year as a full-time teacher for Quincy Public Schools. Though he is now teaching fourth grade, with a focus on math, at Beechwood Knoll Elementary School, his path to teaching in his classroom wasn't a direct one. Like many young professionals competing for positions in a large school district, Caswell started filling various temporary roles. Motivated to teach in Quincy, he worked as a long-term substitute teacher, a media specialist, a one-to-one aide paraprofessional. He helped manage before and after school programs, among other positions, before earning a full-time "teacher of record" spot.
"Having many perspectives in the profession has allowed me to understand and respect all of the different roles on a staff at an elementary school," he says. "My time came after a couple of different roles, but I am so thankful to have had those different experiences to understand myself, the profession, and what being a part of a cohesive staff is all about."
Coach is yet another of the many roles that have greatly influenced Caswell's success as a teacher today. He coaches baseball and football at Quincy High School and sought the role inspired by his time as a student-athlete at Curry when he served as a wide receiver on the football team.
"My football coach at Curry, Coach Skip Bandini, is a great example of someone selfless, is always there for his players, and has continued to communicate with players many years later," he says. "He not only taught us a lot about the game of football but taught us important life lessons. These roles, coaching and teaching, are rewarding for sure, but it is rewarding because you see the impact that you have on your students and athletes positively as they continue through life."
Caswell says that coaching and teaching are the same. "Coaching is teaching. As a coach, you should lead by example, carry yourself in a manner that whoever you're coaching can do themselves, and make sure you're selfless in those positions," he says. "If your students and athletes see that you are invested in them with your time, your effort, and your energy, the output you'll see from them will be tremendous. You get out of them what you put into them. The end goal for me is that my students and athletes, at the end of the day, are good people."
As much as his many roles shaped the educator he is now, he also credits his time, experiences, and connections at Curry for paving the way to his success today.
"One of my favorite professors at Curry is Dr. Joanne Seltzer," he adds. "The amount of confidence she gave me, the tidbits about teaching in different parts of the room, in different colors, were very helpful. She also loves to get to know her students personally and stays connected in the years that follow. That's what I loved about Curry, the continuous connections."
His advice to current and upcoming education majors is to take advantage of the field experiences and all of the opportunities available at the College. "The amount of time you get to have in local classrooms around Milton and Quincy is so helpful to create your network. Get to know the staff, jump into lessons, take chances, and don't sit back. These experiences are where you will learn the most about your teaching style and what works for you and what doesn't! Be involved at Curry, whether it's a sport or extra school activities because those connections will only be helpful to you as you are completing the education program and getting your degree."
"My time at Curry was awesome because of the people that work there, the connections I made with them, and the opportunities they gave me. But it is up to you to take advantage of all of those opportunities and make the most of them."