Teacher Feature: Mr. Matthew Phelan

Welcome to our second Teacher Feature of the 2019-2020 school year. In this Thanksgiving edition, we talk to Mr. Matthew Phelan, PE Teacher at Grace. Mr. Phelan joined our faculty in the fall of 2019 and is already a favorite of our students. Mr. Phelan, we are so happy to have you at Grace!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m from Saranac Lake, NY. I love to play sports — I played baseball (pitcher) and football (wide receiver) in college at St. Lawrence University in New York. I love spending time with my family, including my older brother. We have a camp on the lake where we get together in the summer, and we also enjoy playing golf together.

Since coming to DC, I’ve been coaching flag football for Flagstar. Every Sunday, I get on the field with kids in different age groups: 2nd and 3rd, 4th and 5th, and 6th and 7th.

How long have you been teaching?

This will be my 3rd year teaching. The first two years, I worked at the Potomac School in McLean, VA in a Middle School Fellow position teaching PE and also working in the classroom.

What brought you to Grace?

I’m into sports and physical fitness, and my experience coaching and teaching helped me discover my love for teaching PE. Not being from this area, I focused my search on the Northern Virginia / Maryland area.

I love how small Grace is. I am from a small town, and went to a small college, so I’m used to environments where everyone knows everyone. Grace makes me feel at home that way.

What are your favorite things about teaching here?

I love being around kids and having the chance to be outside. At Grace, I really like the fact that the PE teacher gets to teach every child in school.

Any surprises so far?

A few delights: Grace teachers in all roles will happily jump in and help voluntarily. I know that many Grace teachers stay here a long while, and that’s a sign that it’s a good place to be!

Complete this sentence: To be a great teacher, one must . . .

. . . create a safe and fun community of learning.