Our  Perspectives from the “Classroom”  series will be shared every Wednesday bringing you a reflective piece from one of our St. Paul faculty members.

Mrs. Mary Greger has been a teacher at St. Paul Catholic High School in the English Department for two years, after a 33-year career at the public school level. She is a widow with two grown children, Marc, an accountant for Middlesex Hospital and Beth, the Executive Director of Community Partners in Action. She has a son-in-law, Michael Hines, and two grandsons, Jack, who just graduated from Suffolk University and Luke, who will start his first semester in the fall at Emmanuel College. All five are St. Paul graduates.

Mrs. Greger will be retiring from St. Paul at the end of the school year. We are grateful to her for “coming out of retirement” to join the St. Paul faculty the last two years and wish her much happiness and good health in the years ahead.

We’re pleased to bring you Mrs. Greger's reflection on her teaching in the “classroom” of uncharted distance learning at St. Paul.
Mrs. Mary Greger
Perspectives from the “Classroom”

Two years ago, when I became aware of the vacancy in the English Department at St. Paul, I had no idea how much it would change my life! I was already acquainted with St. Paul through my children and grandchildren, and I had been the Assistant Girls’ Tennis Coach for 3 years, so I knew the school and some of the students. I had taught at the public school level for 33 years, and felt, it couldn’t be that different at St. Paul. Boy, was I wrong! I have never had such a wonderful experience in a classroom. Suddenly, I not only had 135 new students, but I had a whole new family in the staff and faculty of the school. From the administration and office staff to the faculty and individual departments, I immediately felt welcome and comfortable.

This year began as any other, but unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, it will not end that way. In September, I had 99 seniors for four English IV, British Literature Classes.   I love literature, and my goal has always been to impart that love to my students, so that they too, have the chance to appreciate reading.

The school year went particularly well. I believe, I had the best students I have ever had. This made for 8 terrific months. And then March 12 th came. If I had known it would be my last day in a classroom, I probably would have treated it in a different way. But, as far as any of us knew, it was another day. That night, the State of Connecticut made the decision to cancel school for a period of time. We were told we would be teaching classes online through something called Zoom, which I had never heard of, let alone used. After our first faculty meeting about what was happening, I was very afraid I wouldn’t be up to the challenge. That night, when I got home, I told my son, “I can’t do this.” He said, “Yes, you can, and you will.” He knows me well, because, I did. I’m sure I wasn’t the most adept at meetings or lessons for this period, but my students were so great, they made me better. There were times when I wasn’t sure how to do certain things, but they all knew how to do everything. They would say, go to this command, or that window, and help me navigate the system so I could teach the class. I seriously do not believe Macbeth has ever been read with the enthusiasm my students put into it.

The last day of classes, May 20 th , we finished British Literature with poetry, but we also had a Fashion Mini-Prom. My students either wore their prom attire or showed pictures of it. We talked, we laughed and we cried. We began as a family, and we finished as one. 
The atmosphere of love and community which permeates St. Paul has given me the best two years I have had as a teacher. I am retiring now because I think it is always good to go out on a high, and this last year has been that. Despite the anxiety and disappointment of the last two months, we have finished senior year for the Class of 2020 on a positive note. I will greatly miss my students and my St. Paul Family.

Thank you all for the opportunity you have given me, and the warmth and love you have shown me.