Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Montgomery

By: Sarah Stark, Staff Reporter

This school year, Thornton Donovan has a load of new faces, and not just students. New teachers have joined the academic staff at T-D. One of the teachers, Mr. Montgomery, T-D’s newest English teacher, sat down to talk about his experience teaching and his new relationship with the school. 


How did you come to Thornton-Donovan? What are your initial thoughts in comparison to previous experiences?

I took 95 most of the way.  Just a little joke.

I have been an English teacher for 14 years in the state of Connecticut and I wanted to try something new. When I heard of Thornton-Donovan, I just fell in love with its educational philosophy. I loved that it gave its students a world view rather than a “me” centric view of their universe. I feel that the world is filled with people growing up seeing themselves as the center of the world, and I love how TD allows the students have the ability to see themselves as being a part of a much bigger world, and they have the ability to discover how they fit into it through their academic pursuits.

What is your proudest moment as a teacher?

Up to now, there have been some minor personal accomplishments in my career as a teacher. I have had the ability to gain a Master’s degree in Education and another one in English. I have taught students that have taught me more poignant lessons, than I could ever think to have taught them. I always enjoy hearing about the successes my students have after they graduate, and they reach out to me letting me know that they are doing well. So I guess the major accomplishments that I have achieved, comes from the achievements of the students after they leave me class and school.

Why do you do what you do?

Passion and love of teaching, plain and simple. I do what I do, because I love to teach and inspire students to read and write. I love to help students find a voice within themselves. I teach, because I love it.

What drew you to teaching? Were you in another profession before?

I knew I always wanted to be a teacher. I found peace, in an otherwise chaotic world, in the pages of a book. Reading was my escape and I it took to places far and near. Reading taught me that I was not alone, and many others have gone through life collecting similar experiences. When I was young it was comic books, but a sI grew up novels, classic literature and books upon historic events that made the fictional literature come life. My passion for reading, that is what I wanted to share with my students.

How do you get the best results from your students?

Honesty, cultivating positive relationships with students. When you foster positive relationships and sharing my passion tends to encourage  students to want to do their best, because that is what I expect from them.

What is your philosophy of education? Hmm… interesting question. I have a stock answer of that, but I have found that the stock answer is not really what I actually think anymore. I feel that what makes Thornton-Donovan a perfect fit for me, is also why I think I am a perfect fit for Thornton-Donovan. What I mean by this is: I believe that  knowledge is something you gain, and no one can take it away. Others can challenge it, but that knowledge can only become deeper. It is never taken away or lost. I think knowledge shapes and sculps our philosophy in which we apply to everything on every day. That knowledge is gained in school, and reinforced when applied outside the schools walls. Teachers cannot be everywhere with every student, but sometimes our voices can echo in the back recesses in minds of our students. Theses hiddens corners of our brain give home to concepts like character, who we are based upon our virtues. Our analytical prowess, is developed through problem solving skills and critical thinking. Education is all about the student, and the students success comes from believing in themselves, and believing they can be successful. When all ordinary students strive to be extraordinary, then the collective student body all become extraordinary.

What is your favorite subject you’re teaching this year? What interests you in it the most?

I love teaching writing, just as much as I like teaching reading, So, I am very much enjoying teaching the middle school writing classes. However, my favorite class this year, without a doubt, is American Literature. This class ties many of my favorite things together: reading, writing and history. I take a different approach to this course than many, because I look to redefine my student’s concept of what is literature. I take the literature and offer up different perspectives on the subjects. That then gives rise to a independent voice from each and every student as they evaluate and analyze the reading material. I like to challenge them to think for themselves as they look objectively at the authors and the meanings behind their writing.

Do you teach all of the same classes you taught at your old school?

Not really. I was a high school English teacher. I did teach American Literature before.

What is a class you’ve never taught that you hope to teach in the future?

If I could have a dream class, that dream would look like a film class that looks at films through the lense of the director. The class would be mostly looking at film theory but also look at film history. I would love to look at auteurs and style associated with people like Martin Scorcese, Michael Mann, Christopher Nolan, Kathryn Bigelow and John Ford for starters.


Mr. Montgomery is just one of the few new teachers that have joined Thornton Donovan’s staff, but he has amazing intentions for the students he’ll be teaching.  Ultimately, Mr. Montgomery is definitely proving to be a wonderful addition to the academic staff at Thornton Donovan School.