By Max Boesch-Powers
Since the late twentieth century, Mr. Rogers has been teaching at BB&N with the same enthusiasm, charisma, and obliging spirit he brings into work today. He arrived in 1974, just a half year after the merger between Buckingham School (f. 1889) and Browne & Nichols School (f.1883).
As to why he became a teacher, Mr. Rogers explained that he lived in a very diverse and free-spirited neighborhood during his junior year in college. In this community, the kids would often argue about what they wanted to do in the afternoon and just generally have disagreements. Mr. Rogers, being the problem solver he is, found himself stepping in and resolving these issues between the children around the age of 12. When he was that age, Mr. Rogers explains he was, “A total dweeb” and that he was, “lucky to survive.” He became fascinated with the culture of tweenage students and also liked the appreciation he received after solving an altercation. Before that year in college, Mr. Rogers had only done short term jobs like cutting the greens on a golf course, bookkeeping at a bookstore, and spending a summer as a local journalist. Despite little prior interest in education, his experiences as a 20-year-old inspired him to become a teacher.
Mr. Rogers started at BB&N splitting his time between coaching high school soccer and assisting in first and third grade. Back then, he says, “there was no green area” at the lower school, referring to the field utilized during recesses and community events for Beginners-6th-grade students. Before long, he became a History and English teacher for sixth graders. After just five years at the school, Mr. Rogers became the head sixth-grade teacher and, soon after, part of the BB&N Middle School History department. He has been a lasting part of that department for forty years.
Through his time teaching history, Mr. Rogers has learned a lot about why his subject History is such an important concept and about why teaching can be rewarding. He has thoroughly enjoyed the “humor, intelligence, perseverance and good-heartedness” of the students he has taught in his years at BB&N. Especially in this, his last year, Mr. Rogers is “savoring the good stuff” about his job, but he surely won’t miss the stacks of uncorrected papers that pile onto his desk after F-Block History. After being an educator for so long, Mr. Rogers has developed a teaching philosophy based around perseverance; “With perseverance, everyone can get better at learning techniques and everyone deserves to feel good about themselves and [learning] should be fun.” Despite his lasting commitment to BB&N, Mr. Rogers says that it doesn’t matter that he is leaving because his accomplishments are temporary. Instead, he says that his impact on the students and faculty is what matters most. One former student, (now in ninth grade) said that, “Mr. Rogers’s class was a class I was always excited for. From US geography to the British reformation and colonialism, there was always something interesting to talk about.”
Mr. Rogers has taught Historical events many times, and he has witnessed many important events from his desk at the end of the hallway off the foyer, parallel to the Science labs. He has come to work and taught about events that took place a long time ago to spread awareness because “Those that ignore history are condemned to relive it – Winston Churchill” One example is the Vietnam war which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives taking place just five years after the Korean War. His days of teaching History at BB&N will end this year, but Mr. Rogers will move on to writing a book about adolescence and a young boy growing up in rural Massachusetts. This book, he says, is something he wants to leave behind for his sons, just like how he will leave behind, in a bitter-sweet way, his past 45 years at BB&N.