A Bittersweet Farewell to Mr. Swanson

By Ana-Chrysa Maravelias

On Thursday April 25, 2019, in the empty eighth grade science lab, an interview was conducted. Mr. Swanson, dressed in a blue and white plaid shirt over which he wore a BB&N sweatshirt sat down to be asked about leaving from the school as of the Summer of 2019. There were an abundance of kids running around outside on the beautiful spring day. As Mr. Swanson walked out of the seventh grade lab, students were at his tail trying to comprehend just how to solve motion problems. He had told me that he was nervous about the interview, and about any “hard hitting questions.” Despite the distractions, Mr. Swanson, cup of tea in hand, sat down quietly, ready to be conferenced.

Erik Swanson is a science teacher here at Buckingham Browne and Nichols Middle School. He has been working in the science department for two years now, and plans to leave this summer. Before coming here, he worked in New Jersey for twelve years, still teaching science, but this time to fifth grade students. Mr. Swanson says that he has got interested in science when he was a little bit older, due to the teachings of some great instructors and teachers that he personally had. He stated that what “fascinates” him about science is “that you are seeking a better understanding of the world around you,” and that “there is so much left to find out,” both of which are completely riveting to him. It is clear that Mr. Swanson loves science, and teaching, immensely. His tone of voice throughout the whole interview was full of excitement and desire to move forward in his life of teaching.

Mr. Swanson admits quite blatantly that he has gained a substantial amount of knowledge from his students, and hopes that they have learned from him too. He stated that when he got into teaching, his desire was “for students to leave loving learning science, and love learning in general.” He also stated that he wants his students to know that school is not the only place where you learn. Instead, he hopes that they will understand that “we are [all] life long learners, no matter the age you are.” He hopes that he has taught his students that science is all around them, not just within their classrooms or courses. He longs for his students to learn the beauty of science and learning. Despite stating that he hopes he has taught his students these lessons, he expressed just how much his students have taught him. He says that he has learned an abundance from his students. He says that “I have seen great kindness in our community, and it has really instilled in me hope and faith in the younger generation, that they are going to do wonderful things because of the kindness that I have seen.” Overall, he really emphasizes just how much care, loyalty, and friendship he has witnessed while attending BB&N.

In addition, Mr. Swanson stated to his students that leaving the school would be “bittersweet.” I asked him to elaborate on what this meant, and he continued with hints of desolation in his voice. He expressed that this event in his life was tinged with a little sadness. He stated that leaving would be upsetting because he really loves the BB&N community. He will miss his colleagues as well as the opportunity to teach “such wonderful students.” Out of nowhere, his whole tone changed as he started to discuss the “sweet” parts of this decision. He expressed that moving closer to family, and moving to a place that he really loves (the North Shore) will be a largely positive change. In addition, he stated that “I recommend everybody visiting the North Shore if they ever get a chance.” He ended of the interview by stating that he will definitely continue teaching science since it is “a real love of [his].”

He has not only left an impact on his students, however, as many of his co-workers have enjoyed getting to know him, and will miss him greatly. In an email from Ms. Carey, she stated that “Mr. Swanson always maintained a positive attitude and he sees the good in everyone. He was always ready to learn some new science and especially loved fighting with the copy machine. We [the science department] will miss the stories of his weekend adventures on the north shore with Maggie (his dog), his large collection of coffee mugs, and his proximal location to Bagelsaurus.”

Overall, Mr. Swanson expressed how much he has learned from his students and his coworkers in the two years that he has been at Buckingham Browne and Nichols Middle school, and he says that he will miss them a lot as he moves onto the next chapter of his life. Despite this however, he emphasized just how much moving will mean to him – since he will be moving to be close to his family. One thing is certain however, him leaving will truly be “bitter-sweet” for everyone.