Mr. Sean Mayo
Upper School Team Leader
Social Studies Teacher, Grades 7 & 8
Education: B. A. in Political Science from University of Connecticut; Masters of Arts in Social Studies and Special Education from Long Island University; currently pursuing a 6th Year Degree in Administration at Sacred Heart University
When did you join the GCS Family?
I joined the GCS family as a teacher two years ago; however, I feel like I’ve been a part of the school community for much longer as my wife and her siblings are all Greenwich Catholic School alums.
What did you do before you began your career in education?
After I completed my undergrad degree, I attended the NY Film Academy where I received a Certification in Production for Television and Film. At the time, Connecticut had begun offering a tax incentive to the film industry and lots of movies were choosing to film in the state. For almost four years I worked in film production, first as a production assistant and later as a location scout. I worked seven movies, including Old Dogs with John Travolta and Robin Williams, All Good Things with Kirsten Dunst and Ryan Gosling, and Reservation Road with Mark Ruffalo and Joaquin Phoenix. Then the writers’ strike happened and the film industry came to a halt. So I began working as a substitute teacher in the Greenwich Public Schools and found that I really loved teaching.
What is your favorite time period to cover in Social Studies?
The Civil War is my favorite time period to study. I took a class on the Civil War in college and was intrigued by the stories of the women who dressed as men and fought in the war. In film school, I even produced a short documentary on the subject. The social, political and economic elements of the war and its aftermath are instructional for us today and serve as a warning to not repeat the past. With the recent events in Charlottesville and arguments surrounding the Confederate flag and what it represents, the Civil War is still very relevant.
What do you like most about working with Middle School students?
I really feel like it’s a privilege to work with kids at this age, and especially the ones at GCS, because they are on the cusp of being young adults. They’re also starting to form strong opinions on certain topics. As a history teacher, I work hard to remain objective and not align myself with a certain way of thinking, especially during debates and discussions on current events. It’s exciting to watch the students’ empathy evolve as we study various time periods in history. They are starting to understand that history is still very connected to the present.
How do you integrate technology into your teaching?
I love using technology in the classroom and try to utilize it as often as possible during lessons and class projects. The kids love it too and it keeps them engaged and interested in the content we’re studying. I’m really excited that we have brand new Chromebooks this year, especially to further our use of Google Classroom, for homework, group work, web quests, research, projects, and movies. I also incorporate digital learning tools like Kahoot, Quizlet Live, and NEWSELA. During my Enrichment Classes this year we’re going to be using NY Times Upfront, which is a high-school level digital platform for discussing and debating current events.
We hear you’re a Seattle Seahawks fan. Why not the Giants or Jets?
Everyone thinks I’m a “winner-picker”, but that’s not the case! Back in 2000, I wanted to change teams because I was fed up with the Giants, and I wanted a team that wasn’t very good. While my dad and I were visiting the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, I read the team stories on the podiums. I found three teams that were established on my birthday, June 4th: the Cleveland Browns, the 49ers, and the Seahawks. There was no way I was going with the Browns or 49ers, so I went with the Seahawks, who were in last place in the AFC West division. So, I bought the jersey and since then the Seahawks have made it to three Super Bowls. The year they won was also the year my daughter, Olivia, was born!