Teacher of the week 17: John Braglia
Teachers are real life superheroes. Every day, CHS teachers touch the lives of thousands of students, and their work extends beyond the boundaries of the classroom. To show appreciation for these teachers, the Crier asked students to identify teachers that have made a real impact in their lives. A new student and teacher will be featured each week.
This week, Suraj Patel, ‘18, nominated social studies teacher John Braglia.
Patel: Mr. Braglia is an amazing teacher. He is very passionate about his class and what he teaches. He makes learning in his class fun and enjoyable.
Crier: Why did you decide to teach history and social studies? What inspired you?
Braglia: I was a student in the late 70’s here at Conant High School, and like students today, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I knew I was going to go to college. I vacillated a little bit between architecture and teaching, and the thing that really pushed me into teaching was that I had a couple of teachers here that I thought were fantastic at what they did. I also had some great grade school teachers; one of them was my sixth grade teacher, Tim Blanks, who to this day has had one of the greatest impacts on my life. He always looked like he was having fun, was helping kids, and was just a great guy. When I got to Conant, I ran into the same thing. Jerry Mikrut, who was a senior teacher of mine, just looked like he was having a ball every day and was a bright guy. Kids liked him, and he coached all of the things that appealed to me, so I thought that teaching was what I wanted to do. So, Conant High School actually helped me decide to become a teacher.
Crier: How do you connect with your students and keep them engaged in class?
Braglia: I have a somewhat unique style. I’m very animated. When I student taught, the teacher I worked with was very big on voice inflection, so that’s a big thing with me. I don’t speak in a monotone voice; in fact, I’m borderline annoying to my students. I try to maintain a level of comfort in my classroom, so it makes kids want to come back. I’ve always believed that if they wanted to come to my classroom and see me every day, then I could teach them anything, and I think so far, it’s been working for me.
Crier: What do you like to do at home with your family?
Braglia: We like to camp. We’ve been to 22 national parks out of the 52 that are identified. I also ski, cross-country ski, downhill ski, and snowshoe. I also cycle and mountain bike in the summer. My kids do all of these things as well. We like to fish, kayak, and a lot more outdoors kind of stuff.
Crier: What is something that many people may not know about you?
Braglia: I keep my personal life very private, but there are a lot of things I like to do in my off time. I play in a rock ‘n’ roll band. I’m the bass player and the keyboardist, and I play with the same guys I’ve known since I was 12 years old.
Crier: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?
Braglia: I would probably be a carpenter. There’s a strong parallel between carpenters and teachers. My dad was a carpenter. My dad produced things every single day of his life and saw a beginning and an end to what he produced. The start of the school year is my beginning, the start of a student’s career is my beginning, and the end of the school year and their graduation is my end. So, I’ve always drawn a lot of parallels to carpentry and teaching.
To nominate a teacher who has made an impact in your life, click here.