While the real-life stories of teachers may not be so glamorous (especially these days), Hollywood is still able to spin an inspirational yarn once in a while that leads film fans from the cinema into the classroom. Such was the case with recently-elected AFT MA Executive Board member Michael Maguire.
A graduate of Boston Latin Academy who now teaches at BLA, Maguire was on a different professional path before turning to teaching. While preparing for law school, Maguire had an experience that, he suggests, was straight out of the Richard Dreyfus film “Mr. Holland’s Opus.”
“I was working at a Roche Brothers grocery store while I was prepping for the LSAT,” Maguire recalls. “My high school senior year Latin teacher, Mr. Sullivan, called me to ask if I would be interested in substitute teaching. I thought to myself ‘Why not?’ and I never looked back.”
As he had won Boston University’s top student honor - the Buck Fellowship – while an undergraduate majoring in Political Science and Classical Languages and Literature, Maguire was able to take his full scholarship to Greece for a summer. It was there that he truly fell in love with Latin and with the ancient spirit of engaging students in discussion in order to enlighten all involved.
When he started at BLA, however, all was not well in the Agora. “I was the third teacher that year for seventh, eighth, and ninth grade Latin,” he recalls. “I started subbing in March, and the students were not happy to have yet another teacher.” Fortunately, Maguire enjoyed strong support from the BLA staff, which included many of his former teachers.
Since 1994, Maguire has taught Latin and Ancient Greek at BLA. He has also taught Latin, English, and math in summer school. One of his proudest achievements, however, is organizing annual trips with BLA students that allow and encourage them to see and explore the larger world and to bring back their findings and stories, just as he did from Greece. In 2016, he lead 79 students and 11 chaperones to Paris and Rome, the largest contingent of foreign travelers in the history of the Boston Public Schools. He receblty returned from Ireland and Scotland with students and has already helped plan four other trips as well.
In addition to supporting students, Maguire has also striven to give back to his colleagues, first as a building representative and member of BTU’s Executive Board. “I wanted to help other teachers the way my teachers helped me in my first days,” he explains. “Now I hope to do the same here at the AFT MA Executive Board.”
At this particular time, Maguire is especially interested in engaging colleagues and community members to educate them about the dangers of charter school expansion and to work to vote down Question 2 in November.
“My goal is to help charter school teachers find a voice in their schools,” Maguire says. “Massachusetts’ schools are again ranked #1 in the nation. I believe it’s due to our strong unionized schools where teachers are not afraid to lose their jobs over disagreements with management. The same cannot be said in the growing charter school movement. “
As a graduate of Boston public schools, Maguire is now a proud parent of two BPS students. “Public education is important to me and to my family,” he maintains. “I love that my children attend school with so many kids of many different backgrounds. I see the attacks on public education as attacks on my children and upon their friends. As a parent, I cannot let that happen. As a teacher and a union member, I won’t let that happen!”