From the hustle and bustle of an all-boys school located on 16th Street in New York City to the more docile suburbs of West Hartford, English teacher Bill Martino certainly experienced a change in pace this summer by becoming a member of the Kingswood Oxford Upper School faculty this year.
Earning his B.A. at Fordham University and M.Ed. at the University of Notre Dame, Mr. Martino double majored in English and Medieval Studies. He belongs to a family of four kids with his wife, Carol.
Mr. Martino has a passion for teaching that extends back into his childhood, long before he assumed his position at KO.
It wasn’t until his time as an undergrad, however, that these aspirations began to take the shape of a career.
He later worked in Savannah, Ga. and several other under-resourced schools in the South, before going to Xavier High School in Manhattan, and arriving at KO this year.
As a teacher, Mr. Martino said that his passion lies in forging connections with students whenever possible.
“I love the teachable moments that happen outside the classroom, on the field or in the pool, or just in conversation with students,” he said. “To be an effective teacher, you really have to know your students – you have to know what makes them tick, you have to know what encourages them, you have to know what works for each of them. You don’t get that just in the classroom.”
His favorite book to teach is “The Grapes of Wrath,” written by acclaimed 20th century American novelist John Steinbeck. Mr. Martino explained the joy of observing his students transition from apprehension to love of the text in his classes, praising the book for posing what he describes as thought-provoking questions about what it means to be human
“Students resist ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ [at first], and once they’re about a third of the way through, they can’t put it down,” Mr. Martino said. His favorite novels are “East of Eden” also by Steinbeck, and “The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene.
Outside of teaching and novel-reading, Mr. Martino is an Assistant Coach for the junior varsity volleyball and boys’ swimming team, enjoys running, spending time with his kids, watching TV, and listening to podcasts, namely “Keep It” and “The Daily,” a podcast run by The New York Times.
Mr. Martino spoke optimistically of the upcoming school year. “My hope is that I make the move toward building strong relationships with my students, that they see me as more than just their English teacher and maybe as a role model or an advisor,” he said. “Teaching is a calling, it’s everything–not just relaying information. You wear so many hats at a school like this; to be able to balance them is a challenge that I love.”
We welcome Mr. Martino, and are just as excited about him joining the school community as he is about English.