Teacher Spotlight: Benjamin Concannon-Smith

How long have you been a teacher at WRHS?

I have been teaching for 10 years at WRHS.


Who/what inspired you to become a teacher? 

My sixth grade history teacher. She was fantastic, and because Fitchburg reworked their school system, I got to have her again in eighth grade. I originally planned on becoming a mechanical engineer, but I learned in college that I did not like engineering, so I fell back on my second plan which was teaching.


What is your favorite part about teaching?

Well, the teaching part. I love being in the classroom and teaching students how to think analytically.


Have there been any important lessons that you have learned throughout your career? 

Yes, I think so. I have learned that teaching content is important, but the environment I create is more important. Students remember their environment and how they felt.


Are you involved in any other additional activities at the school or in the community?

Before I had kids, I was involved in a lot of activities. But as of right now, I just help out with GSA and Mock Trial Model United Nations. 


What is your favorite method of teaching?

I like using the jig-saw method while teaching primary source document-based questions. It allows students to work in groups, have class discussions, and think individually in a critical way. It hits all the important aspects of critical thinking.


What do you think is an important thing for all teachers to keep in mind? 

We’re here for the students. We got into this career to shape the next generation.


What do you think makes you a good teacher?

Who said I am a good teacher? I think what makes me decent is that I keep working on getting better and improving.


In what way did the pandemic affect you the most? 

Professionally, the pandemic made me feel very lonely and isolated. Most of the time, I was teaching to tiny faces or blank screens on zoom. I missed interacting with colleagues and students. However, a positive of the pandemic was that I got to spend more time with my family. I enjoyed being home with my kids each day.