Have you met the New English Teacher?
“I was born in 1836 and I genuinely believe I’m an anachronistic mortal. I have a stuffed horse on a stick called ‘The Grammar Pony’ that has magical powers. I’m confident no other teacher has this.”
From the beginning, I could tell there was something a little different about Mr. Concilio, and it wasn’t just the ponytail hairstyle he sports. A rather eccentric man, Brent Concilio, is the awesome new addition to the English Department. Born in rural Southwestern Connecticut, Mr. Concilio grew up riding horses. Some say he has enough horseback riding skills to challenge the most adept cowboy of the west. And to top it all off, Mr. Concilio is a master fencer! Can you get any cooler than that? But don’t worry kids, his interesting talents aren’t the only reason he was hired. Prior to becoming a teacher at Hanover High, Mr. Concilio got his undergraduate degree in Avalon, Scotland and his postgraduate degree at Dartmouth College. Now as a full fledged adult, Mr. Concilio is teaching APW, Composition II, and 9th grade english at Hanover High. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s how I met this man of many talents.
As I walk down the empty English hallway after school, I’m crossing my fingers that the new teacher is still in the building. Here goes. I swing open the English Department’s door. To my surprise; the new teacher, Brent Concilio, is sitting at the table offering a frazzled student advice on the particulars of her essay. As far as first impressions go, I was impressed. Mr. Concilio has been here for all of a couple months, and he is already taking the initiative to meet with his students. Upon meeting Mr. Concilio, I was shocked. I expected the next hum-drum personality type, another teacher keen on drilling information through a student’s skull. But wow was I wrong! Mr. Concilio talks about teaching with zest. Mr. Concilio not only brings excitement to the classroom with his quirky personality and the occasional bounce in his step, but he also cares a great deal for his students. “I think it’s important for students to feel, regardless of their confidence with the discipline, like they are safe and are connected to either the material or to the teacher,” Mr. Concilio says. The unique way in which Mr. Concilio teaches requires students to make connections that are not entirely obvious. I remembered how patient he was towards his student, and I found myself wishing I was in Mr. Concilio’s class. Asking him questions for the interview came easily; the more we talked, Mr. Concilio’s originality became more and more apparent. I asked him what he considered the quirkiest thing about himself that sets him apart from all other teachers. He thought for a minute, and then a smile slowly spread across his face. He responded, “I was born in 1836…” I blink. Normally when teachers lie about their age, they claim they are younger. Mr. Concilio clears his throat. “…and I genuinely believe I’m an anachronistic mortal. I have a stuffed horse on a stick called ‘The Grammar Pony’ that has magical powers. I’m confident no other teacher has this.” He reaches behind him and pulls out a miniature version of a hobby horse. Whoa! He’s for real. The prospect of this man teaching with a pony seems too preposterous for words, and I join in on his laughter.
After I was properly introduced to The Grammar Pony (and after The Grammar Pony made certain that I capitalized his name), we turned to my very last question. If Mr. Concilio is an eccentric man now, I couldn’t help but wonder- what was he like when he was our age? As a teenager in school, Mr. Concilio was very idealistic about education. He told me that his view was jaded about the institution of school, a system with its priorities askew which he thought created trivial bureaucratic things. Again, I am impressed. While hormones raged through his adolescent body, he was pondering over the workings of our education system.
So there you have it, the bizarre yet interesting Mr. Concilio in a nutshell. I don’t know about you, but I know what teacher’s English class I’ll be signing up for next year!