Brian Chappell interacting with students. Photo by Ailin Toro Beltran.
As the brand new school year starts, MHS has recently welcomed special education teacher, Brian Chappell. Chappell is currently a co-teacher for History with Greg Hurley, and English with Anne Mooney.
Chappell expressed that when coming to MHS, his first reaction was “daunting, because of the school’s size.” However, he was able to adjust to the new environment quickly partly because of the support of the staff which he also was quick to mention that the staff stood out to him the most.
Chappell goes into detail that the atmosphere in the high school, recalling back to the spirit week pep rally, says that “you can just overall feel the positive attitude and energy in the air.”
So far, Chappell says that his experience here has been “pleasant but tough at times” due to the vast diversity of students and meeting their needs. He describes how special circumstances and extra understanding come into play when cooperating with students.
Prior to coming to MHS, Chappell attended Massasoit College and Quincy College where he received a major in information technology and worked in the IT field for a while. As for his jobs, he worked as an advanced repair agent, a networker, and also a troubleshooter. Chappell then decided later on that he wanted to go into coding but concluded that it was best not to and so he attended UMass Boston and switched his major over to history.
When recalling his change in majors he states, “it was a rediscovery of a love [he] had for geography and history when [he] was a kid.”
As a child, Chappell was not always fond of school. Though, he had always loved geography and literacy. It was not until he met his professors at Quincy college where he was able to find his inspiration to learn again. As Chappell recounts about his motivating experience with his professors, he stated that “as [his] relationship grew with [his] professors, [he] became more passionate about learning.”
Although Chappell is new to Malden High, he has had his experience in teaching with students. Chappell was a substitute teacher at the Ferryway School and Linden S.T.E.A.M Academy.
He was also a paraprofessional in the Pathways Program which was one of the reasons why, Elizabeth Smith, who is the the Special Education Director, hired him, “[she] loved that he worked in [their] Pathways Program and was able to take on that challenge, so [she] felt as though when he moved to the mainstream classroom, that he would be able to relate to [their] students.” Smith further explains when asked about what set Chappell apart from other applicants.
While Chappell was still a part of the Pathways Program, he describes that it was “eye opening.” He explained that the program has allowed him to handle student interactions better. Along with that, Chappell expresses how it has also made him learn and grow as a teacher.
When in the classroom, Chappell has been able to “reach students in a different way” and “has been good at walking around, checking in with students, seeing if they need any assistance” said Mooney, who is an English teacher and works with Chappell.
Some of the things that Chappell enjoys to do when he is not teaching is playing his guitar, reading about politics, and listening to history related podcasts.
Chappell is currently enrolled in a master’s program at Cambridge College to pursue a higher degree in special education and his goal for this year is to learn a lot, as he explains that he came in mid first quarter into the school year. Regardless, Chappell is positive in knowing that the amount of knowledge that he is going to have by the end of the school year will be helpful and is looking forward to using that knowledge for the next school years to come.