Shoreham-Wading River welcomes Brendan Obraitis as a new faculty staff member this year. After acquiring prior experience as an assistant teacher, a substitute teacher, and a leave replacement, Mr. Obraitis starts his teaching career at the high school with two Algebra 1 sections and two special education sections.
Mr. Obraitis attended college at SUNY Oneonta, located in southern Otsego County, New York, and later obtained his master’s at St. Joseph’s to accomplish his childhood dream of becoming a teacher. This dream was brought about after his sixth grade math teacher inspired him, and grew his enthusiasm for mathematics.
“I wanted to give back what she gave to me as a kid, so I wanted to inspire younger kids to want to love math and carry that with them,” said Mr. Obraitis.
Although this will be his first teaching year in Shoreham-Wading River, Mr. Obraitis has had to adapt to the challenging circumstances that we are all faced with this school year in regards to Covid-19.
“When I walk into the school, my mind just doesn’t think about Covid and all the restrictions, but rather what we can do and not what we can’t do,” said Mr. Obraitis.
Restrictions implemented for the safety of the faculty and students have had unexpected impacts, such as difficulties in creating bonds with each other. However, Mr. Obraitis has been able to overcome these difficulties, acknowledging that the restrictions do not pose a threat to providing his students with a strong education.
“I do have to say that the faculty and the students make it very easy to put the mask barrier aside, and just focus on what’s truly important,” said Mr. Obraitis.
Even with all these obstacles, there is never a lack of motivation for Mr. Obraitis. Reflecting on the time and determination needed to pursue his goals, drives him to achieve his objectives.
“No matter what challenges or obstacles you face, you have to remember that when you were at that age a long time ago, you set that goal for a reason…and though you might have your drawbacks, that shouldn’t prevent you from achieving the goal you set,” said Mr. Obraitis.
These factors have an influential role in the teaching of two different subjects: mathematics and special education.
This takes into consideration the different needs and foundations for both courses in order to adjust to the students.
“The main difference is that math has more curriculum to follow…whereas special education is more centered around the students. It’s more focused on How can I scaffold and support a student to the best of my ability?,” said Mr. Obraitis.
Although Mr. Obraitis has only just begun his journey at Shoreham-Wading River High School, the support is overwhelming and encouraging for him.
“I am very blessed to be in this district; there is a ton of opportunity. I am able to have both math and special ed. classes, and supportive staff members. I think coming into a new district is intimidating, but when you’re backed by everyone and it’s so inclusive, it’s easy to fit in,” said Mr. Obraitis.
Despite the challenges that many teachers and students have had to face with the pandemic, his passion for his special education groups and his sections of Algebra 1 have not subsided. In every aspect of his teaching, Mr. Obraitis tries to engrave components into his curriculum to encourage his students.
“Grit, determination, hard work, dedication, and diligence. All these key factors are things I truly plan to implement,” said Mr. Obraitis.