Help Wanted: Guest Teachers

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Opportunities exist for those in the community with a degree and life experiences that can enrich the teaching in Weston public schools, because the school district needs substitute teachers.

Superintendent Lisa Barbiero likes to call them “guest teachers,” and emphasizes how rewarding and fun the job can be. The district offers a lot of flexibility.

Guest teachers can pick the school where they will teach, although working in the school attended by your child is not recommended. At the high school, guest teachers can choose an academic subject, and in all the schools they can pick the day or days they would like to work.

Ms. Barbiero points with pride to popular guest teacher Tom Glass (left), a veteran of the advertising industry and former senior executive at the Wall Street Journal.

Student journalists Mia Tomanelli and Katrina Todorovich profiled Mr. Glass in the Weston Warhorse, the high school newspaper, reporting that “one of his favorite things to do is give back, giving kids advice that he’s learned through his storied career. Mr. Glass makes connections with students, acts as a mentor, and is always willing to lend help and wise words for students in the unpredictable times of high school.”

Superintendent Barbiero recruited Mr. Glass at a Kiwanis Club meeting. He turned her down. “I said I had no interest in babysitting,” said Mr. Glass.

“So don’t,” Ms. Barbiero replied. “Share your life experiences.” For the last several years, he has done just that, and more.

“The quickest way to alienate students is to teach to a substitute lesson plan,” said Mr. Glass. “That looks like busywork, which some of it may be. But the reaction from students is amazing when they get a chance to learn some life skills in a way they don’t always get in high school.”

With his professional experience comes an extensive network that helps Mr. Glass mentor students and often introduce them to key people in industries they are interested in. Those contacts enjoy doing it. “They have fun with it,” said Mr. Glass. “They like coming out of the woodwork and helping kids.” He said none of them had ever said they didn’t have time to do it.

“I’m having fun with it too,” said Mr. Glass. “It feels good to make an impact, talk about life, and find a niche where you can help out.”

Those interested in joining the ranks of guest teachers can apply online. There will be state and federal background checks, an interview will be scheduled, references will be required, as will a bit of online training and signing a student confidentiality agreement.

And if you happen to be a retired engineer, Ms. Barbiero would particularly love to hear from you.

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