As all the greatest teachers have realized, the job of teaching holds a much greater responsibility than imparting information. Here at Smithtown High School West we are lucky enough to have a very diverse set of teachers who put this belief into action each and every day. Freshman and sophomore history teacher, Mr. Greg Sill, has been highly respected and impactful on much more than the classes he gets to see on a day to day basis. He’s the kind of teacher who students reflect back on when asked what their most influential classes were and who their most memorable teacher was. Teachers are essential to instructing us on our journey of life. With educators like Mr. Sill you can be sure that every day in the classroom will be a lesson worth while.
Surprising enough, when asked what made him want to become a teacher he responded, “I never really knew I wanted to do this. Especially in high school this was probably the last thing I thought I would be.” Later when asked what his plan would’ve been if he wasn’t an educator he answered, “If I could have the dream job I’d be an actor in movies running around on set, that would be the greatest thing ever.”
In his sophomore year of college at Stony Brook University, his future wife was the one who instilled the thought of him pursuing a teaching career. Following that day, Sill decided to take up a few classes and soon realized this was something he could get seriously into.
Sill´s ability to understand and relate to the students around him is one of his most admirable attributes. Instead of forcing classes to learn in whatever way appeals to him, he figures out what will be the most engaging for his audience. ¨In his class it can often feel like you’re in another world outside of the typical high school routine. My favorite thing was learning a lesson through his use of films. He´s able to connect with students on a modern level by showing relevant content that relates to today´s society.¨ says his last year´s ´Student of the Year´ winner, Skovhel Augustin. Sill adds, “My philosophy is learning could be fun, learning should be fun, and you learn better when you’re enjoying it- it doesn’t have to be a boring chore.¨
One of Sill’s strongest beliefs is the need to have respect between the teacher and the student. He doesn’t believe in the need of a teacher to have such towering superiority over his classroom. “There has to be mutual respect in the relationship. I try my best not to use sarcasm in the classroom to make the kids feel as comfortable as possible but I can’t say the same for humor,” though he adds with a bright smile. This ideology is what allows his students to be so successful and to form even deeper, comfortable and confident relationships with him in the long run.
Mr. Sill has made long lasting impacts on his students for the past 22 years and hopes to continue educating in high school until retirement. On a closing note he states, “Above everything, I never wanted to clash with my students. We both have to understand that we’re on this trip together; I’m not against you, you’re not against me, we’re going down this path together and I’m here to help.”