The Avon Record’s own Panyachote Ketyungyoenwong ’13 had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Spearman and ask some questions to get to know this key addition to the faculty.
Mr. John Spearman, a new teacher at Avon, has a fascinating past and an interesting pedagogy. Originally from Ohio, he studied at Malone College, where he got his undergraduate degree. Mr. Spearman was in the business world for 25 years in sales and marketing. He was the vice president of business development for Alltel Company, where he worked for 13 years. In 2007, Mr. Spearman received his masters degree in Latin from Kent State University. Teaching has always been Mr. Spearman’s passion. He taught at Cardigan Mountain School and Thornton Academy before coming to Avon Old Farms in 2011. “I want to bring excitement and fun to the classes I teach and sports I coach. And I want the students who get to know me know that I care about them and pay attention to them.”
What classes do you teach?
Mr. Spearman teaches Latin and History. He believes that being an academically rigorous teacher does not necessarily mean not having fun. He expects his students to do their best. However, Mr. Spearman also finds time to bring smile to the students’ faces. For example, he uses jeopardy to help the students review. “While playing the game, they are also learning the material, remembering forms and cases, and having fun at the same time.”
What do you like about Latin?
Learning Latin does not simply mean just memorizing vocabulary and understanding the grammar. Latin, capable of being much more specific and subtle than English, has a degree of specificity, It also includes storied historical figures, such as Caesar and Virgil. By reading these words, we can get to know history’s greatest people. “When we read some Latin, we learn that even though two thousand years have gone by, people are still pretty much the same inside, still same hope and dreams and feelings.”
In what ways do you contribute to Avon?
Mr. Spearman coaches thirds football and while two thirds of the team has never played before he develops the team to compete against more experienced teams. “The fun of thirds is the amount of growth that each player would progress.” Mr. Spearman tries to help the students reach their potentials. He also co-founded, the bow tie club, a new club this year at Avon. Jas Spearman and John Rhyne decided they wanted to encourage bow tie wearing among the students. Along with Mr. Flanagan and Mr. Carpenter, Mr. Spearman sponsors the bow tie club in Pelican 20 to promote bow ties and raise money.