Teacher Inspired by Heart-to-Heart with Mr Arthur Cummings

By Kate Anslinger

Fourth grade teacher, Warren MacPhail (aka “Mr. Mac”), will be the first to tell you that teaching and coaching go hand-in-hand. Having taught a combination of first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade over the past 27 years, MacPhail balanced out his classroom time with coaching track for 26 of those years. He is a firm believer that coaching is everything that teaching should be and used to be, and he works hard to find a balance between hard work and preparation with fun team working activities that fuel motivation.

Twenty-five of his teaching years were spent in Winthrop following one year teaching in Strafford, Vt. and one year in North Adams. As a veteran in the classroom and on the track, MacPhail shares a bit about those who molded his mind early on and what it’s like to coach his own two children.

Did you always want to be a teacher?

Ever since my junior year in college, I pretty much knew teaching and coaching was part of my future plans.

If you weren’t a teacher what other professions could you see yourself doing?

I’d probably be some sort of outdoor guide for hiking, running or paddling. Or I’d like to own a bike shop.

Is there someone who inspired you to get into teaching?

Mr. Arthur Cummings gave me a quick one on one speech when I was younger that opened my eyes up. He talked to me about making good choices and making my mother proud. Mr. Sal Arena played a huge role in my life early on and later he became a mentor teacher for me. I was in a cross road early in life and these two amazing people helped me a lot. Throughout my teaching career, fellow teacher, Connie Grayson has inspired me to teach with kindness.

Do your students inspire you?

My kids walk into my classroom everyday with the biggest smiles you could imagine. They inspire me to never forget that those smiles are the most important part of teaching. Never lose that smile.

MacPhail’s success expands beyond the classroom and onto the track, as he’s played a major role in some big wins over the years, including 12 conference titles and three state championships. Not to mention the many athletes who have taken what they’ve learned from him and applied it to their athletic college careers.

“It’s been a awesome ride,” said MacPhail. “The best part to date has been the chance to coach my own kids-Cormac and Fiona.”

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