Teachers’ Travels Through Life

Meghan O'Connor and Margaret Kimball

As Ever Garrison once said, “A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils.” Being a teacher is a time-consuming and industrious job. We can now share with you the insight of how two relatively new teachers, Mr. Mabbott and Mrs. Farrington, worked their way through college and eventually found their way to this small New England town.

Our most beloved teachers may have been in the same situation many of us are in right now, asking ourselves the question, “what do I want to do in college?” In Mrs.Farrington’s case, graduating from high school was the beginning of making her own decisions and following her passions. After graduating Tufts University with a degree in political science, she found herself employed at Boston College Law library. Following her love of history, she began taking graduate courses at the college. Mrs. Farrington told us that history “is a subject that [she has] a lot of interest in personally, so [she] enjoys learning more about it and talking more about it.” These factors made the choice for her simple; she would apply for her master’s degree at Boston College.

Mrs.Farrington expressed to us that her family, particularly her parents, were large contributors to her choosing to be a teacher. “[My parents] helped shape my outlook to make me think about things the way I do. They always valued education a lot and they always made my sister and I feel like school was the most important thing and something we needed to take seriously…they set my mind to thinking that working as an educator would be doing something of value.” Many of her values and the way she thinks about the world were at one point impacted by her parents. High school students can relate to this parental supervision in our day to day lives. Teaching the students at Ipswich High School has overall been a pleasant experience for Mrs.Farrington. “I like that it is smaller than the high school I went to…it is easy to get to know students and the students really know each other so there is a nice comfort in the classroom which can be a double edged sword sometimes.” Every student here can relate back to this statement. We have all felt the benefits of a small school, including personal relationships with teachers, being comfortable with everyone in your classes, and receiving individualized help when it is asked for. Not all students can be this lucky. Mrs.Farrington said that she attended a large high school and she feels as though we, here at Ipswich, have a lot of nice things going for us. Mrs. Farrington has already made many memories by working on her second year at this high school.

Mr. Mabbott is one of the many first year teachers at our high school. You may notice that he has an accent. This is because he is originally from Scotland! Mr. Mabbott lived in Scotland all the way until college where he received an undergraduate degree at the University of Edenbrook in Scotland and he actually did his junior year abroad, in this country, at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Mabbott tell us that he “moved to this country three years after graduating college, and became a project manager in construction using [his] engineering background,” after majoring in civil engineering. When we asked why Mr. Mabbott decided to teach he said that “[he had] been a dance teacher since 2001 so [he is] very used to being up in front of groups of people and teaching”. He continues to say, “I spent some time in Poland where I taught English as a foreign language. I loved teaching over there; it was awesome, and I enjoyed teaching and being up in front of the class”. After this life changing experience, Mr. Mabbott knew that he wanted to stick with teaching and eventually transitioned into teaching math. He says he chose this subject because “I have always been very comfortable with math. I learn things in a very logical way,” and surprisingly he is also a certified science teacher.

So far Mr. Mabbott really enjoys teaching at Ipswich High School. He tells us how he “went to an enormous High school where you were just one in a crowd,” and how at this school he feels like you “can get to know some of the students and the other staff. It is a great size and that helps the learning environment, also considering the staff here is remarkable”. When we asked who influenced him he said his parents. He goes on to say that “I know that is a boring answer, but your parents have a huge amount of influence on you. My parents gave me a lot of independence and a lot of decision making abilities at a pretty young age but they were there if I messed up”. Overall, Mr. Mabbott is pleased with the way his life has lead him to Ipswich High School.

Both of these educators told us about their lives in and out of Ipswich. Many high school seniors are wondering where they will end up after high school and maybe after college. Hopefully, the influence of these new, intelligent and teachers this insight on how a few of the people we look up to will help current students with their journey through life.