Mr. Bill Thomas
Third Grade Teacher
Education: B.A. in Human Development and Family Studies, with a minor in Sociology, UConn; M.S.W. in Social Work, Fordham University; M.A. in Elementary Education, Sacred Heart University. Certified in CT for K-6.
How long have you been part of the GCS community?
I came to GCS in September 2017 after working in the Norwalk and New Canaan School Districts and with the Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF). I enjoy being part of a Catholic school environment where the parents are actively involved and engaged in their child’s educational path.
What’s your overall approach to teaching?
My focus is on helping each of my students reach their full potential while creating a supportive environment where students are able to share ideas, and building on fundamentals to help them continue on a successful path at GCS. I think it’s important to learn to work individually as well as in groups, and I structure lessons so that there is a balance between the two.
Does your class work on any unique activities?
I use a number of different techniques in my classroom, including reading, interactive educational games, group discussions, and videos. When we review a unit or need a “study session” before a test, I challenge the class to a subject-focused game of Jeopardy! or Hangman. The students look forward to sharing their knowledge of the material, and the stimulating atmosphere gives students a chance to encourage each other and build confidence. We also participate in field trips that are associated with different parts of the curriculum throughout the year. When we were studying Native Americans, we visited the Bruce Museum’s exhibit on Native American history to gain a first-hand perspective on various cultures and traditions.
What do you enjoy most about teaching 3rd Grade?
At this age, it’s important to help students develop both academically and socially. Group work gives them an opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other, which is a skill they will need throughout their lives. In 3rd Grade, they also start to write almost exclusively in cursive, which is a “rite of passage” that they look forward to. I believe strongly in self-advocating, and we’ve been working on developing that skill in a number of ways. Feeling responsible for your own well-being along with the well-being of others is important to their social development. It’s been rewarding to see how far they’ve come as a class and as individuals this year.
What are your interests outside of the classroom?
I have a very active lifestyle and enjoy cycling and running. I also do taekwondo and am a 1st Degree Black Belt. For a change of pace, I like going to the movies with friends -- Avengers is on my list for next weekend!