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BHS Register

The Student News Site of Burlington High School

BHS Register

The Student News Site of Burlington High School

BHS Register

Teacher Feature: Meet Sean Fleming

Sean Fleming
Mac Timothy Murad
Sean Fleming

Where are you originally from?

“I’m originally from Lowell Massachusetts.”

Why did you choose to teach here at BHS?

“A combination of things. I was teaching in Massachusetts, but my contract there wasn’t renewed just due to what the school needed at the time. So that’s part of the reason why I came up here. My wife is from Vermont. And when I would go back to visit family, I thought, ‘wow, this place is gorgeous’. And we were living in Boston at the time. And she said, ‘Hey, why don’t we move up to Vermont?’ And [I] quickly found a job up here, and I’ve been super happy. We’ve been here since 2013 and haven’t missed Massachusetts at all.”

What inspired you to become a teacher?

“I’ve always loved education, ideas and the life of the mind. So that’s part of my motivation, like my happy space is with books, ideas, writing and understanding and knowledge. All of those things make me happy. And secondly, I feel like in high school I could have benefited from better teachers. So I’m throwing a little shade on my teachers from high school, but I feel that in some ways they let me down a little bit. I probably could have reached out a little bit more as a teenager, but I always thought ‘hey, I could do it better. And maybe I could help some kids and inspire some kids.'”

What can students expect from your classes?

“I’ll just give you the objective answer, and then I’ll give you a subjective answer. They can expect lectures, they can expect my best interpretations and expansions on the material, they can expect to learn how to argue and reason and then turn arguments and reasoning into writing. And just looking over my record, they can expect me to be prepared every single day. Now from the subjective side. It is very difficult to reach that bar every day and be perfectly prepared, but somehow or another, sometimes in the last two minutes before the bell rings, it all comes together and I’m always amazed that wow, once again, I laid the golden egg. But it’s very difficult to always be prepared, but somehow I’ve been able to do it.”

What was one of your favorite subjects in high school?

“I’ve always liked history. And art as well. So you put me firmly in the humanities. I wasn’t the best math student. I don’t think I’ve been given the natural gifts to calculate. And then of course, as a teenager, when you’re developing, like motivation, emotional regulation. I just didn’t have the patience and the dedication. To develop it. I deeply respect math. And I think it’s super important to our technological development, medical development, scientific development, but my heart always is within literature, philosophy and history.”

What’s something surprising about yourself?

“When I tell students that I was in the Army serving active duty, most students go ‘I never thought that Mr. Fleming [was in the Army]’. They often react in a pretty surprised fashion. The army was a really good initiation and there aren’t many real initiations in our culture, but going through basic training, going through hardships with other young men was an invaluable life lesson.

I wasn’t the best student in high school. I was a little wary. And the Army helped me find my way in a variety of ways, you know, I didn’t want to stay there. I only did it for two years. So it showed me ‘okay, this isn’t the life that I want to live.’ I mean, some people stay for 20 plus years. But it also gave me an opportunity to find my motivation which was missing in high schools like ‘wow, this is meaningless. I don’t want to do this. I’m angsty, I’m yeah.’ But I really wanted to succeed in the military. So I did find my motivation there. And I also recognize that I should go back to school and really buckle down and that’s what I did.

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