If you ask just about any high school history teacher, they can point to a specific time in history that most interests them.
For Dr. Jeffrey Shea of Andover, that time is World World II. Not surprisingly, this 36 year old is also fascinated with social justice.
"That's been my passion. I think that's kind of what I was raised on," he said. "A passion for history, so that's a big reason why I teach. I love the subject and I try to instill the love for the subject in my students."
Dr. Shea began teaching at Belmont High School in 2009. He's known as the type of teacher who asks students for advice on how to make his classes interesting each year. He's also regarded a meticulous planner who varies his lessons with different approaches and technology -- all of this in an attempt to keep his students interested in understanding events in history, instead of just memorizing facts and dates.
"I think you have to constantly go back to that question of how is this relevant. How does this relate to your life? And if we can't answer that question, we are probably not going to do a good job at teaching that concept," he said.
Shea's skills in the classroom do not go unnoticed. In May of this year, in front of Belmont’s entire student body, he was named the 2015 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. Nominated by the school's principal, Shea was selected by the state for his dedication and commitment in the classroom.
This school year, Shea's new focus is on an elective he's teaching called Global Leadership.
"It's really about the complex problems that the global community faces and how a lot of innovative people are trying to tackle those problems," he said.
With every new subject he admits there will be new challenges, but his strategy is simple: Stick with it, which is advice he also has for young teachers.
"Try to recall when you have a tough day some of the successes you have had and not to take things so personally," he said.
Words of wisdom from the 2015 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.