New Teacher Profile: Mary Kate McCarthy

Photo of Mary Kate McCarthy. Photo by Myllena Martins.

Mary Kate McCarthy is an English teacher and has been teaching at Malden high school for the past 3 months. Before coming to Malden high school she was working as a student teacher which makes this her first job. She teaches 11th and 12th grade and is involved with Play Production.

Sean Walsh, who hired McCarthy, says McCarthy has thrown herself “into the work” and has been able to effectively talk and relate to students so that they may learn material better.

Walsh says that as a teacher she “brings her experience and a wealth of knowledge to the job.” He also explains that he hired McCarthy as a result of a team of teachers and administrators who interviewed several candidates however “she stood out in the process.¨ One of the reasons why he chose her was because ¨she was highly recommended by her cooperating teacher.”

Before coming to Malden High, McCarthy went to school in Boston, since then she knew she wanted to stay in the greater Boston area.  “[She] wanted to find a school where the curriculum was based on skills and student interest, rather than test scores,” she explained, and  “[she] hoped to become part of a community that valued and supported diversity.” She feels incredibly lucky to be hired at Malden High School.

McCarthy explained that it is important to her that school is relatable and useful to the lives of her students since, “when [she] was a high school student, [she] read the book Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi” and found that while the books carried their own cultural and historical context, when they were read in this new environment the students were able to bring their unique perspectives.  As a high school student, she has been asking herself “why [is she] doing homework, reading books and writing papers?” She felt that this book answered that question for her. ¨Through it, [she] saw that literature has the power to connect people across time and space; and teachers have the power to facilitate this process¨ which ultimately lead McCarthy to become a teacher; she wanted to spend her life helping students use literature to understand the world around them and to challenge it.

One of McCarthy’s challenges was coming into the school in the middle of the year, explaining that ¨[she] had big shoes to fill when [she] stepped into Walsh's classes in January.¨  One of her main goals as a teacher is to make sure that students feel seen and heard in her class and it was important to her that she hit the ground running in terms of getting to know the students so that she could work towards this goal. Her first few weeks were spent studying names on X2, assigning creative writing assignments, and reading through surveys that she had given to her classes. “[She] hoped that these steps would accelerate the getting-to -know-you process and help overcome the challenge of starting mid-year,” she said.

McCarthy says that ¨at the moment, [she is] helping Jennifer Clapp and Walsh with Play Production.  While [she] was a theater kid in high school and have always enjoyed plays and musicals¨ [she had not] really thought of herself teaching this type of class.  In just a few weeks [she] has been here,¨[she] [has loved] being part of this class and getting to work with students in this different setting. While [she is] not sure that [she] will teach subjects other than English in the future, this positive experience with Play Pro makes [her] hesitant to say [she] never would.

One of McCarthy’s favorite things about Malden High is her students. During McCarthy’s spare time she enjoys spending time with her four-year-old nephew. Because of this, you can often find her listening to the Wiggles, building with Legos, and reading picture books in her spare time. McCarthy says that one of her hobbies is cooking she says ¨after watching alot of the Great British Bake Show, [she has] started to get into baking. [She has] gotten great feedback on [her] mini apple pies and chocolate chip cookies.¨ McCarthy explains her academic history she says that ¨as an undergraduate, [she] earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in English Education from Boston University. [She] stayed at BU to earn a Master of Arts in English.¨

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