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The Barron Perspective

Teachers on College: Mr. Grimes

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By Brandon Bhajan

Mr. Grimes has been a member of Woodbridge High School’s Math Department for three years.  He teaches Algebra I and II, Precalculus, Math 4 Life and also coaches the Junior Varsity Baseball team. Mr. Grimes attended Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City where he played baseball as a redshirt, a college athlete who is withdrawn from college sporting events to further develop skills and extend the period of playing eligibility by a further year. He attained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and minored in secondary education. Mr. Grimes has a unique college experience because he was a student-athlete, which was a determining factor in selecting St. Peter’s.

Barron Perspective:  How did you decide college was for you?

Mr. Grimes: I always knew that to become a teacher I would need a bachelor’s degree, and I also wanted to challenge myself.

BP: Was there anything specific you looked for in a college, and did you visit campuses?

MG: When looking for schools, I looked for the ones that gave me the best opportunity to receive my education, and also gave me the best chance to compete in collegiate baseball.

BP: What about St. Peter’s stood out to you? Why did you choose them over other colleges?

MG: Well, it was not one of my top choices but due to an injury with my shoulder, it was the only school still really interested. That feeling of being wanted was a big reason in my decision.

BP: Was choosing a major difficult, and how did you decide?

MG: No, I always knew I wanted a job that allowed me to work with people and also coach on the side. I was not sure what specifically I wanted to do until, one day, I took an educational class that really sparked my interest in teaching.

BP: Were there any major adjustments for you from high school to college?

MG: No, I felt like my teachers prepared me so that, when I got there, I was comfortable with the new environment.

BP: What classes did you enjoy and what classes helped you with your career?

MG: I really enjoyed all of my classes because I felt as if it gave me an opportunity to become a well-rounded student. The educational courses and seminars really helped jumpstart my career.

BP: What are some tips you would give students who don’t know what they want to major in for college?

MG: Don’t worry. The majority of classes your first year or two are usually your core courses. I went into college thinking I was going to be a doctor and now I am a teacher, so things change.

BP: How big was the workload of college compared to high school?

MG: I wouldn’t say the workload is that much more, but you are required to do a lot on your own. There are not going to be teachers there that are constantly staying on top of your work. It’s a good opportunity to be independent.

BP: How did you balance your school work with baseball?

MG: I always enjoyed playing sports because I felt like it was fun and a privilege, so I knew if my grades and behavior were bad, I wouldn’t be allowed [to play baseball]. It also taught me how to balance things in life. Also, you’d be surprised how relatable baseball is to the real world.

BP: What kind of success did you have in collegiate baseball?

MG: I was a very good hitter in college, hit a good amount of homeruns and was very productive.

BP: Were you being looked at by scouts, and what were your chances realistically of going pro?

MG: Yes, before I got hurt, I had a small chance of being drafted out of high school. Once I got hurt, that interest disappeared, but that also made me realize how important my education was. It was like everything happened so quick, and after that injury, nothing was the same. [Editor’s note: Mr. Grimes suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder during his senior year of high school].

BP: Why did you decide to give up baseball and focus solely on education itself?

MG: Well, once I knew professional baseball was out of the picture, I focused really hard on school. My goal was to become a high school baseball coach and teach kids to love and enjoy the game like I did. Those friendships I made in baseball, I will cherish forever.

BP: How tough was giving up baseball?

MG: Extremely tough, I learned how to play when I was four years old with my grandparents in the backyard. My grandpa taught me how to hit and we hit every day for hours. Funny story: in my first game ever, I hit the baseball pretty far, but I didn’t run. My grandpa taught me how to hit but never told me I had to run. So I just stood there and my mom came out of the stands, picked me up and ran me around the bases. My first home run was done with my mom sprinting me around the bases. I still play baseball on Sundays, but now it’s just for the love of the game.

BP: Was college an overall good experience for you?

MG: I thought it was a wonderful experience. It really teaches you a lot about yourself. You learn how to become independent, how to manage your time, what decisions to make, how to save money, be efficient, and really enjoy a new setting.

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Student Written, Student Produced
Teachers on College: Mr. Grimes