Chris Miller, A Natural for Teaching

In the spring of 2010,Chris Miller was teaching English in a suburban high school close to Boston, but he wasn’t going to be re-hired for the following September. There had been an incident where Chris joked with one of the teachers, but it was misinterpreted and set off a chain of negative reactions among a small group of colleagues. Although his previous teaching records were excellent, it didn’t change the outcome. I saw Chris the following fall when he felt discouraged and was questioning  his role as a teacher. During our sessions, it became clear that Chris was a dedicated to teacher. He came alive when discussing creating  engaging lessons, and he spoke in terms of nurturing students’ success. He also loved his subject matter. It was clear to me that it was the environment and not the work itself that was the problem. We talked about urban public schools, and charter and independent schools. I encouraged Chris to try substitute teaching in a variety of settings and get to know the teachers. He had a friend at Boston Latin (BL), got in touch with her and sat in on her class. He met the English department head who liked him and wanted him to sub. She knew there was a long-term sub position opening up soon which Chris accepted. He then spent this past year teaching under a one-year contract. Chris felt that the diversity of BL students and academic rigor were a good match for him. He now has many colleagues and connections in the Boston Public School system. They are not currently hiring a permanent English teacher at BL, but Chris’s teaching experience is richer, his resume more impressive, and his conviction in his teaching abilities is strong. I’m sure his Boston Latin students are happy he continued in his chosen field of teaching—-he has a gift, a much needed one. The next school system will be lucky to have him.