Updated: Oct 3
By Maya Sanseverino ’25
What was attending GFS like for you?
First off, it was a lot different than being a part of the faculty. It was a little hard, I'm not gonna lie. As a student of color on campus and also one of the only African-American males in my graduating class, it was difficult in terms of social and academic support that I got at GFS. However I did make a lot of friends, I did become very comfortable on campus and with the faculty and staff.
I just wish there was more representation in the faculty. That was a big reason why I applied for the job as a math teacher. Growing up, my parents always said. “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” I take that to heart and I really try to be the change in the world that I want to be, even if that world is really small, like a GFS community.
Another big reason [I applied to work at GFS] is I understand that during and post-COVID, no one learned anything. I also know that anxiety increased, depression increased, and a lot of social aspects were hindered because of COVID. I try to be a big presence on campus, fist bump as many people as I can, smile, make as many people as I can laugh. I really want that social aspect to come back and that support and make people feel comfortable once again as they move back into face-to-face school.
Growing up, did you always want to be a teacher?
I did. Being a teacher was actually my very first choice job when I was growing up, second actually, number one was stunt double. Number three was a marine biologist and then number four a veterinarian. I've been loving every second of [teaching]. So it is making decisions moving forward a little hard for me, if I want to not teach later on or if I want to come back to teaching, but I really don't know at this point.
How does it feel returning to GFS so shortly after you left?
I actually returned even earlier than this year, because I had been a coach at GFS since I graduated. So I graduated in 2016, and then starting in the fall I was hired by GFS as an assistant [wrestling] coach. I've been around for seven years, coaching. I never got disconnected from the community here. It is weird, though. I remember in the first two years, I definitely was walking on campus, trying to hide my face because there's still a lot of students on campus who remember me when I was a student and then when I'm coming on as a freshman in college they're like, why is he here? I [was] just trying to hide. After the first like three years, it was pretty easy to walk again.
Does your age affect the way you teach and the way that you interact with your students?
Yeah, big time. There's a lot of pros and cons to it, and I've been really working on trying to maneuver between the two. There's definitely a lot more comfort that my students have with me. I feel like that can then lead to some level of not respecting my authority. However, I don't want to be an authoritarian teacher and I'm nowhere close to that. That dynamic, that in-between, is kind of a hard thing to juggle, like when to get more strength or when to be more comforting.
I also think my age allows for a deeper understanding as to how COVID had affected the ninth grade especially, and then seeing the kind of effect or consequences and how they. like. have overlap this year and then probably will overlap for years to come. I think because I was finishing up my senior year at college when COVID hit, I know how egregious it was to a lot of students if you didn't have a support system at home or home life wasn't the greatest. I definitely understand and feel for a lot of my students in that scenario.
Is there anything I didn't ask you that you would like to share?
The number one thing, the reason why I took this job, was representation and also, I feel for my students, you know? I understand, I get it. Hearing about the teacher that I stepped in for, I understand that there were some personality conflicts with him and the ninth grade class. Coming in November, I really wanted to be a presence for good on this campus and try to make students smile, and the students that don't smile, at least make them feel comfortable. That's all I really can do. – Maya Sanseverino
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