A math teacher and an English teacher sit together and eat each day. How do they communicate? Between bites, of course.
Jack Champagne teaches math and is into his second year at CM. Vincent Catano teaches English and tries not to think about the length of his tenure. “I’m always one year short of the number I don’t want to get to,” he says. Truth is however, these two teachers represent bookends as far as time passed at 235 Baker Street.
But when they meet for their 45-minute break, the subjects are varied and are usually come upon by Catano. “I’m a good listener,” says Champagne, “and he’s a good storyteller,” he adds pointing to his lunch partner. The subjects? College football…basketball, and cooking shows or to be more exact CNN’s Searching for Italy with actor Stanley Tucci, “and restaurants…” says Catano, “…even though we can’t go to any.”
But this daily ritual happened more by chance than design. This year, as well as last, their schedules coincided, which is how teachers get to know one another. That, or if your classroom is adjacent to some else’s and you can step into the corridor between classes and exchange a few words.
“He’s providing me with another sort of education,” says Champagne. Which is true. Add drop-in lunch friend Tom Meagher to the mix, and as Catano says, “You’ve got a combined century of teaching experience.” And the talk is fast paced. “I’m envious of how he keeps the attention of all his students,” says Champagne. “It comes down to experience,” interjects Catano. “Yeah, that’s easy for you to say,” notes the second-year teacher, “but I’m practically one of them.”
What is true is the regard these two have for each other as one eats pizza and the other a bean stew. Have they learned anything from one another during their years talking and chewing together? “Sure, in class I go into the entymology of what trigonometry means,” says Champagne. “And I could probably grade an English paper from all the times I’ve seen Vin do it.” And for the elder statesman of the faculty? “He can talk more about literature than I can talk about calculus,” he laughs. Like Walt Whitman computing fractions.