Teaching Through a Pandemic and as a new teacher: Mr. Gauthier

Sarah Davis, Contributing Writer

The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, teachers and students alike. Most teachers can probably remember the nerves that they had their first year teaching. Now, how about we combine the two together? During this awful time, a new teacher had joined Westborough High School’s staff, Freshman science teacher Mr. Gauthier. He has tackled both of those challenges and is back for teaching a second year.

There were many pandemic challenges for Mr. Gauthier to endure in his first year of teaching:
familiarizing himself with the class content, learning new technology and systems that weren’t planned for. And there were some good aspects; one of the better situations was being able to connect with students. Building bonds with them helped with the stress that the school year in a pandemic was causing.

Mr. Gauthier shares that the one key thing for him making it through the hybrid model was learning organizational skills. Since there was a lot going on, it’s very important to have those skills; they made all the difference in how the year went.

One thing that was unexpected was the realization of how many things he needed to learn. Despite having two science degrees, there was still a lot he had to refresh himself. This year, there are things that he has had to learn to do differently for this year.

Like before, teaching has brought upon a whole new definition of organization.

Mr. Gauthier shares, “You think you have decent organizational skills, but then you start teaching…”

It was especially difficult to try and keep the students focused when over zoom, but he seems to understand why. He talked about how he understands how it must be easy to be distracted when at home since you can have a lot of distractions that aren’t in a classroom.

In one word, he describes himself as “empathetic.” One of the reasons he got into teaching in the first place was because of experiences he had in middle school and high school. He remembers struggles with feeling bad about whether or not he was smart enough. So, even if it’s misbehaving, missing work, or other things like that, he tries to put himself into his students’ shoes.

Another area of science that Mr. Gauthier enjoys is astronomy. He would love to teach Astronomy or advise an Astronomy club.

Mr. Gauthier adds, “If you have questions about astronomy or astrophysics, or anything space related, really, no matter who you are, if I have you in class or not, before or after classes, I will drop everything I’m doing to give you an explanation on whatever you ask.”