As citizens, it is our duty to attend school. There are teachers showing up every day educating youth, even if the youth don’t want to be there. I think sometimes we fail to realize how lucky we are to have teachers who care. Eager to learn more about teaching in BPS, I sat down with my former history teacher, Thomas Vascensolos, who currently works at John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science.

Were you born in Boston?
Technically no, I was born in the Boston area. Cambridge to be specific.

So did you decide to move here for opportunities?
Well right now I live in Somerville and I decided to work in Boston because Boston has a lot of teaching jobs. I knew I wanted to be a teacher, so I applied for various positions in and around Boston, and I just so happened to receive an offer within Boston itself.

Was teaching always your dream job?
It actually was not always my dream job. When I was very young, I thought about potentially becoming a doctor, then I realized I wasn't really passionate about that. So I decided to go into finance and accounting, and I did that for a few years. I'm still passionate when it comes to economics and finance and just keeping up with what's going on in the news and the economy, but for a full-time job, I decided to become a teacher.

What inspires you in your work?
Some of my teachers growing up. I also read many books on teaching and education and that pushed me into the education field.

What is the achievement you're most proud of?
I'm actually the first person in my family to graduate from college, and then I went on to obtain a master’s degree. I'm very proud of that.

Read more…
Courtesy of Mark Osorio
Thomas Mabine sits in the lobby waiting upon my arrival. I’m walking to the community center in Roxbury, almost 10 minutes late due to MBTA issues. As his manager is blowing up my phone, I continue to walk faster. As I arrive at the center, Mabine greets me with so much enthusiasm, like I wasn’t 10 minutes late. The 20-year-old comedian is about 6 feet tall, and he has short black hair. He is wearing the sweater of a friend that he was promoting.
My first time watching one of Mabine’s videos on Instagram was hilarious. It was a video of him eating off his friend’s plate and his friend got “mad” and threw the tray of food at him. I really thought he was funny. When I got the chance to meet him I was so excited.
Mabine grew up in the South End, and he started entertaining almost a year ago. Most of his life, he was a class clown and that’s how he got into being a comedian. Mabine went to Fenway High, and he used to play basketball before he started to entertain others. 
“All my life, I was a class clown,” Mabine said. “I like making people laugh, I don't know I just love it.”
Mabine did not have a plan B when starting his comedian career. Also, his mom did not have any faith in his career — she did not like what he chose as his path. “My mom hated it,” Mabine said. “People would come up to her like, ‘Yo, your son is doing this and that,’ making fun of me.” But, Mabine explained that her feelings slowly changed. “Now it's a positive. She still [doesn't] like it, but she wants me to have a backup plan.” 
Mabine and I leave the center so we can go take pictures. We start in front of the building, and his manager says they would look nice on the track across the street. We go, and they come out amazingly. As we finish up, Mabine talks about getting in contact with friends to make more skits. He tells me about comedy, “You can do it, just be consistent and have faith in yourself. You can do it.”

Read more…
Courtesy of Darwin Soto
It was 4:46 pm when I walked into Carla Bethancourt ’s apartment, which was mostly empty except for a bed and some chairs because she is getting ready to move to Brookline. She walked out of her room in her casual, comfortable, home clothes. 
Bethancourt went to West Roxbury Academy for high school. She moved to an apartment building in Hyde Park—where I also live—when she was 20-years-old. “I moved to Hyde Park because it was more peaceful. It was a bigger apartment, and since I was still going to school I liked the fact it was closer to the train station,” she said. 
When she first moved into the building 10 years ago, she started to notice bad things such as neighbors playing loud music and the stairs being dirty. “I don't remember how many neighbors I’ve had or how many times I had to call 911 on them to put the music down,” she said. 
Bethancourt tried to fix the loud music issue herself. “I've spoken to the Hyde Park committee and gave them information about what's going on in my building specifically, but none of that worked,” she said. Instead, she just got used to the music and decided to ignore it until she moves out.
Bethancourt is now 30-years-old and works full-time at Bank of America. Before she got to where she is in life right now, she struggled a little bit by working at Stop & Shop and many other low-paying jobs. She is now looking forward to a new start in Brookline. “Hopefully my neighbors are great,” she joked.

Read more…
Courtesy of Winnie Ruan
When I entered the room, my math teacher Jillian Kilcoyne looked like she was prepared, standing tall and confident. She was wearing something professional, a shirt and a skirt, and sitting on her desk looking ready with her hands crossed.
Kilcoyne is originally from Worcester. Her first job was a cashier at Walgreens. 
“I went to a private school in Worcester for high school and Emmanuel College,” she said. Kilcoyne studied education and math because she was very passionate about studying and teaching math when she was younger. 
At one point, Kilcoyne wanted to quit during college. 
“I wanted to drop education and didn’t want to become a teacher anymore because mathematics was a lot of work and it was very difficult,” she said. “A lot of my friends supported me so I continued.”
She is currently teaching ninth graders at the Josiah Quincy Upper School. I had her twice for eighth and ninth grade so I’m kind of close with her. She is nice and cares about the students by asking, “How are you doing?” and “Are you okay?” She sometimes buys us candy and snacks. Being a teacher needs a lot of patience, which she has, but teaching freshmen is quite interesting. She tries her best to teach new things to the class and get them developed for the future. 
At the end of the interview, I thanked Kilcoyne again. After, she started putting some of the chairs up that weren’t already on the tables. Then, she erased the whiteboard. She went back on her laptop and continued doing stuff that teachers do.
Read more…
Courtesy of Jessie Li
As Michael Hanson walks into the photography lab filled with iMacs, he sits down at his usual desk located at the center of the room.  His tall figure defines him as a football player in a photography lab. As we start talking, I learn that one of his favorite quotes is, “Discipline equals freedom,” from a writer he follows. Hanson explained that the more disciplined you are, the more you're able to stay on schedule. As a photography teacher and a football coach at North Quincy High School, the most challenging part of his career is time management. 
There never seems to be enough time for him to introduce different assignments to students therefore, he has to modify lesson plans. With the lesson plans, grading, staging shows, and student’s artwork events, Hanson said he “wished there [were] more hours in the day.”
To ensure he has more time, Hanson follows an efficient daily schedule. He usually prepares for the day the night before. Having a busy morning, he wakes up early and brings his three children to school before going to work. His afterschool schedule varies at different times of the school year. For instance, in the fall he’s the position coach of varsity football and offensive coordinator for the JV’s.
Despite the busy schedule, he still has priorities. “My main goal is to help each student become a stronger, more creative communicator,” said Hanson. With the understanding that not every one of his students is going into the arts, the classes he teaches can provide useful life skills that can apply to any career path. Students can communicate their personal and unique ideas using the art he teaches, and he believes that any art is the artist trying to convey an idea to the audiences. The arts also encourage a person’s creativity. Hanson believes his students should explore topics they are personally interested in. “The best way to ensure success and creativity is to chase what you’re really into,” he said.
What inspires Hanson is many of his great teachers and coaches. They shaped the course of Hanson’s life and provided redirection when he needed it. Hanson believes being a teacher simply means being a positive presence in other people’s lives. “It really is the great occupation I can think of,” Hanson said. 

Read more…