Of all the teachers at Mt. Greylock, there is perhaps nobody so versatile as Andrew Agostini, who has taught Math, Latin, and Physical Education on top of being a paraprofessional and football coach. The Echo sat down with Mr. Agostini to ask him a few questions.
Echo: Could you give us a timeline of what you used to teach?
Agostini: Since I came back to the school in 2014, I’ve done a variety of things… I’ve been a paraprofessional mostly, in Mrs. Slocik’s class, but I’ve done some history, I’ve done some Latin, I’ve done P.E., and now this year I’m doing math, so I’ve worn many hats, since I’ve been back up here. It’s been a lot of fun.
E: What would you say is your favorite subject or part of teaching, and why?
AA: I really just like working with kids, whether it’s teaching in the classroom or individually working with them, and seeing them get something that maybe they didn’t the day before, or the week before… or to see kids put in the time, the effort, come to see me for help, and then to see them have success… I think that’s what every teacher would say. You know, when the kid’s putting in the effort, and you feel like you helped them along the way to achieve what they want to achieve, or simply for a lot of kids just to improve a little bit. And when you see that, to me, that’s the best feeling. I do like history the most, though, but I’m super into math now, with geometry… I’ve been kind of researching it, coincidentally looking at the history of it and how it’s developed, so it’s fascinating. It really is cool. I’m having a fun time, it’s been good, I’m certainly – I’m probably learning more than the kids are, so (laughs). It’s fun.
E: What math and Latin classes are you teaching currently?
AA: No [latin classes] this year, but I filled in when Mrs. Keeley passed away a few years ago, I had to fill in for a couple of her classes. We kind of just looked at, like, the history of, you know, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome… things like the government, culture, war tactics, things like that, because I don’t really know Latin, so I couldn’t help with that aspect of it. But we tried to look at the culture that surrounds the language, the two competing cultures that primarily existed. And I’m doing geometry, three geometry classes, and an algebra class. And I’m working in another period doing math help. A lot of math this year.
E: What would you say is the biggest abstract difference between teaching different subjects?
AA: It’s weird! I think as I’ve been doing the math, I realize that they all are kind of – I don’t want to say they’re all the same, but they’re all – there’s a lot of things they share in common. To me, it’s really just about how to approach it, and, like, with history, it’s weird: You can look at things from a lot of different perspectives, but it ultimately comes down to what actually happened, and math, I almost look at it the other way where it’s like there’s many ways to get to the answer… and it’s kind of just like what you feel comfortable doing, what makes sense to you, and ultimately how you get there. To me, those are two similar things, but one deals with more numbers, angles, lengths, and the other one deals with ideas, people, places. I think what I’m starting to realize is how kids are attracted to different subjects, because now my mind’s thinking way differently than it would be doing history, but I’m going about it the same way (laughs).
E: Which is your favorite subject to teach, and why?
AA: I really enjoyed the Latin classes I worked with a couple years ago – two years ago? Yeah. Yeah, I really enjoy – I mean, I like all of them. There’s never been any class where I’ve been like “Ugh, I don’t like that,” I’ve always enjoyed them, they’ve all been different… the Latin classes were cool because we could look at things maybe outside the curriculum, if you will. You know, I only met with them about once or twice a week, so it’s not like I was giving them work…. I don’t know any Latin, so I can’t do anything regarding that, with that. So once or twice a week, we would explore these different issues, and the kids were really great, I think it was a tough situation but they embraced it as much as they could, and they had a really great finish to the year once they got to know me a little bit, once we got in a groove of what we were talking about and doing. I really liked those two Latin classes. And maybe it felt more freeform than, like, this is what you’ve got to do, the kids need to be here at this point, where the math and some of the other ones we gotta stay on track and those things.
This interview has been condensed by Echo staff.