Nicholas McNeal is one of two new teachers at McClain High School; however, he is not new to Greenfield schools. McNeal taught at Greenfield Middle School for four years before making the move. MHS’s journalism class decided to interview him to get to know this newbie.
Q: Why did you move from the middle school to the high school?
A: Back in 2016 I was hired at the middle school for the seventh-grade science position. I thoroughly enjoyed it while I was over there. After spending four years teaching the same content, I felt like I needed a change.
Q: What are you involved in?
A: I am involved in quite a few things around the school and the community. At the school, I am the boys head soccer coach during the fall, then I coach middle school swimming during the winter, and during the spring I volunteer to help with distance runners in the middle school track program. I am also on the board for GSAY, which is the youth soccer program here in town.
Q: What is your favorite thing about McClain?
A: It’s home. This is the school that made me who I am today. I have a lot of memories here, and I look forward to making more.
Q: What is the hardest part about teaching?
A: Not being a mind reader.
Q: How long have you been teaching?
A: Four years (this is the fifth).
Q: Did you teach somewhere else before Greenfield?
A: No. Greenfield for life.
Q: Do you commute here?
A: It’s a tough five-minute commute.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between teaching middle school and high school?
A: The students seem to be much more independent. They also seem to take things more seriously.
Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge at McClain right now?
A: When I say this, I want to be clear that I don’t think that this is just a challenge in our community. I think a lot of people in general struggle with this. I believe the greatest challenge for McClain right now is getting kids to buy into hard work, not in the moment, but over an extended period of time, staying disciplined and determined to reach their goals. We want a quick fix for things rather than sticking to a program and going for long-term goals. I think students would reach their goals more often if they had the mindset to enjoy the process and find those little victories as they go.
Q: Do you have any pets or kids? Favorite hobbies?
A: I have a wife who teaches in the elementary school. She is also the girls’ varsity swim coach. I have two children — one son and one daughter. Eli is a first-grader at the elementary school in town. Amelia is a 7-month-old doing what babies do. I enjoy soccer, swimming, running, biking, lifting, etc. Of my 28 years alive, I have spent 17 of them being a part of this school.
Talitha Manson is a journalism student at McClain High School.