An Interview with Newish Teacher: Mr. Marricco
Alicia introduces Mr. Marricco, New-ish English Teacher
Mr. Marricco came to Franklin High School in the fall of 2020; this is his second school year at Franklin High School and only his third year in New Jersey. This New Yorker moved here when he became a teacher. Prior to joining the FHS faculty he taught in Newark at West Side High School, which was his first year of teaching. He said, “I was a career-changer and came to teaching via a long, twisty professional journey that included coaching high school rowing, business development for a social network start-up, psychiatric research, and nonprofit development with civil rights, social service, and conservation organizations.”
What has it been like teaching physically instead of virtual like last year?
Teaching in-person this year has had its pros and cons, and it isn’t quite the same as it was pre-pandemic. Teaching into the abyss of blank Zoom screens was draining--mentally and emotionally--and I think many students found it just as difficult to learn virtually. This year, there is definitely more energy and engagement among my students, and I think we are all benefiting from socializing together again--even if it is still in masks and at a distance from one another. There are still some limitations to the ways we can teach and learn...there’s going to be an adjustment period in which both students and teachers will need to reorient themselves to a new normal to reset their mindsets and expectations: this is your education, it’s real, it counts and it matters.
How have you gotten to know your students since you’ve been here?
I like to spend the first week or two of every year getting to know my students and offering opportunities & activities for students to get to know themselves. Part of that is also establishing a safe space in my classrooms, so that folks feel comfortable engaging not only with me but also with one another. Relationships take time. I’ve always found that I get to know students best in the little interactions: before and between classes, in the halls, during office hours. This was how I connected with my teachers and professors as well, and being able to have those organic conversations is something I really missed while we were remote.
Why did you choose to work at a high school?
There are a couple of reasons. Part of it has to do with my academic interests, style of teaching, professional goals, and my personality. High school was really hard for me... but it was also an incredibly impactful and transformative time in my life, as it is for many folks. The rigor of my high school education and the support I received from teachers, mentors, and friends really helped me figure out my values and goals--who I wanted to be and what kind of life I wanted to lead--and really set me up for my future academic and professional success. As a developmental stage in life, it’s a big one, and if I can be just a small positive role in that for my students, then it’s all worth it in the end.
Thank you Mr. Marricco, for your time. We are glad to have you here at FHS!