Meet Mike Shilalie, Field School Teacher and WHS Baseball Coach
Next up in the Owl series of “Do you know your educators” is Mike Shilalie, fifth-grade teacher at Field School as well as the Weston High School baseball coach. One of the owlets was fortunate to be in Mr. Shilalie’s classroom during the first year Mike moved from being a learning assistant to being a teacher–that was in 2017, I believe. Mike was always encouraging, clearly enjoyed (and still enjoys) his job, and always responded quickly to any concerns.
High school baseball season starts Sunday–if you haven’t come out for a game in the past, you may want to check it out this spring. Makes sure you give Mike a hard time about his favorite team. Go ‘cats.
Owl: How long have you been teaching in Weston?
Mike: I have been fortunate enough to have been teaching in Weston for almost 11 years now.
What is your role at Weston Public Schools?
I am a 5th-grade teacher. Before becoming a classroom teacher I began my career in Weston as a learning assistant at Weston Middle School and Field School.
Why/how did you decide to become an elementary school teacher?
The original plan was to pursue a career in school counseling at a secondary school. Circumstances led to me eventually working at Field School as a learning assistant. I was somewhat hesitant to work with a younger student population, however I ended up really enjoying working with the younger group. It became clear to me that becoming a classroom teacher would allow me to have a positive impact on a wide variety of students!
Did you have a favorite teacher growing up? Which one and why?
My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Conway, was a warm and caring educator who had a genuine passion for teaching. She had a knack for making her lessons engaging and interactive and always went out of her way to ensure her students were happy and confident. Mrs. Conway also had a great sense of humor and was quick to offer encouragement and praise to me and my classmates. Her kindness and dedication left a lasting impression on me and certainly played a role in my becoming a teacher.
What are the biggest challenges in your day? And the best moments?
Being an elementary school teacher is an extremely rewarding job, but it can be quite challenging as well. On a daily basis, we wear many different hats and juggle many responsibilities to ensure that our days go smoothly and are productive. Planning and teaching four to five different subjects a day can be tricky, however I do appreciate being able to work with students in all content areas and enjoy the variety.
One of the most fulfilling aspects of the job is to witness students overcome challenges, push themselves to achieve their goals, and take pride in their accomplishments. When students work hard and see the results of their efforts, they gain confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of fulfillment that can carry them forward in their academic and personal lives. As an educator, seeing the transformation in students and knowing that you have played a role in helping them reach their potential is a truly gratifying experience.
How many students do you work with every day? What’s your favorite subject or unit to teach?
I currently have 21 students in my class.
I really enjoy teaching math which is interesting because it was a subject I really struggled with when I was young. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to gain a new appreciation for math as well as a better conceptual understanding of the subject.
Many students are quick to say they hate math and aren’t good at it. It’s my goal to help these students approach math in ways that work well for them and to help these students recognize that they are capable.
Which student was your favorite of all time (oh just kidding)
Lol! You’re going to get me in trouble!
You are also the High School Baseball Coach. How long have you been coaching? Did you grow up playing baseball? Do you still play? What is the best team where Cubs is the only correct answer?
Yes, I’ve been the head baseball coach at Weston HS for the past three years. Before becoming the head coach I was an assistant coach for about 5 years. I grew up playing baseball, hockey and football. Although it was difficult to choose only one sport to pursue in college, I ended up deciding to play baseball at the University of Massachusetts.
Ssshh….I don’t tell many people about my secret love of the New York Yankees…
I have no problems with the Cubs though. Lol!
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my family. My wife, Dana and I have a 3-year-old son, Teddy and a 3-month-old son, Henry. Having two little ones at home has certainly kept us busy this year. When I am able to find some free time, I really enjoy spending time outdoors and being active. Some activities I enjoy are surfing, golfing, and hiking.
What do you think is the superpower of Weston educators in general?
It’s hard to pick just one “superpower”. I will say that I am so lucky to have such a great group of colleagues from who I learn from every day. They are passionate about their work and have a deep desire to impart knowledge and shape young minds. They are patient and understanding, and able to connect with students of all backgrounds and abilities. It is impressive to see my fellow colleagues constantly seeking new and engaging ways to teach their students. They are compassionate and empathetic, always willing to lend a listening ear to their students’ problems. Above all, my fellow teachers in Weston are dedicated to their profession, and willing to put in extra time and effort to ensure their students succeed. I am proud to be a part of such a great group of professionals.
And there you have it, Weston! Another of our public school system’s best.
Go ‘cats! And Cubbies forever…