CONTRIBUTED BY AMY MORRISSEY
The clock reads midnight. Bleary-eyed, your teacher finally finishes grading the last of the 80 tests from their classes. Time and time again, this scenario plays out over the course of a school year, only to begin again at the start next fall.
So why would anyone want to do such a job? While the source of motivation is different for all teachers, each and every one has something that keeps them going through all the late nights and hard times, and many want to share it with others.
The Margaret Metzger Fellowship provides Brookline teachers with a platform to talk about their motivation for teaching.
Made possible by funding from the Brookline Education Foundation, the Metzger Fellowship is a program that takes six teachers from around Brookline each year who apply by writing an essay on why they teach in Brookline. They then write an essay about what being a teacher means to them and what motivates them as a teacher.
Social studies teacher Malcolm Cawthorne, who took part in the program in 2016, said the fellowship was great for connecting with other passionate Brookline teachers.
“It was nice to be in a room with other teachers where we were all just thinking about our experiences in teaching and then writing about our own individual stories. And so they were all really different, but I could also hear the commonalities in people’s experiences, like a love of teaching,” Cawthorne said.
English teacher John Andrews, who helps the teachers in the program write their essays, said that there are so many extraordinary teachers involved that it is difficult to find ones who stand out.
“They’re all standouts. That’s like asking a parent which child they like best. They’re all fantastic,” Andrews said.
English teacher Amy Morrissey, a participant in the fellowship this year, said that the program was different from similar experiences in a pleasant way.
“I have a fair amount of experience with writing workshops, where a group of people get together and writes with a facilitator present,” Morrissey said. “I’ve done a bunch of things like this in the past, but it was really nice.”
According to Cawthorne, taking part in the Metzger process created connections between him and several staff members at various Brookline elementary schools.
“It was really one of the more positive experiences I’ve had as a teacher. I actually knew a few people,” Cawthorne said. “But I also got the chance to meet four amazing teachers from the elementary schools.”
Andrews described the fellowship as a very interesting experience and a source of personal motivation for his own teaching career.
“It’s an opportunity for teachers to get together for a week in the summer and write and talk about what teaching means. Teachers don’t get to do that much,” Andrews said. “We’re very busy during the school year, so the chance to get to sit down and talk to these teachers, who are all very thoughtful and caring professionals has been inspiring to me.”