Coffee With...Brian Mosher

Terri Saunders
Published on March 29, 2012
IN RECOVERY — Gander Collegiate teacher Brian Mosher used to be a coffee junkie, as is evidenced by the size of the thermos he once used to keep his java hot all day long. These days, the veteran educator is more likely to be found enjoying a cup of tea.
Terri Saunders/The Beacon

When you're in Brian Mosher's presence, one thought constantly crosses your mind - where does he get his energy? Years ago, the Gander Collegiate teacher might have told you it was downing more cups of coffee in a day than most drink in a two-week period. He's given up on the joe, having replaced his daily fix with a couple of cups of tea. But it hasn't calmed him down at all. His enthusiasm for his job, and in particular, a media broadcasting program he developed himself and implemented at the school several years ago, is obvious from the first moment you start talking to him. He's been teaching high school for 30 years, and is eligible for retirement this year. It would be hard to imagine Gander Collegiate, and the media program, without him. Maybe he'll decide to stick around a little bit longer. The Beacon recently sat down with Mr. Mosher to find out.

Where were you born?

I was born in Corner Brook in 1959. My parents still live there, actually, in the house that I was brought home to, in Corner Brook east. As a matter of fact, the face of the Man in the Mountain overlooks my parents' house. Born and raised and went to school there.

Where did you go to college?

I was in the very first class at Grenfell College (an extension of Memorial University) in 1976. My first day of university, I remember they were still putting paint on some of the walls, and we were walking around workbenches in order to register. It's grown tremendously since then, of course, but we were the very first class to do a full year at Grenfell.

What did you study?

I originally started off working on a chemistry degree. I had all sorts of great plans on heading in that direction. A year later, I was considering a different route, and I was inspired by a couple of really cool people at home. One of them was Al Pittman, who has become a good friend, but who was one of my professors in the early days. I thought that teaching English was going to be really cool, and I actually did that for about 16 years.

Where was your first teaching job?

It was in 1982 in a little tiny community up in Gros Morne Park called Trout River, and I stayed there for the 1981-'82 school year, teaching junior high and high school. There were five of us running the entire junior high and high school programs, and one of them was a shared teacher with the elementary school. That was the phys-ed teacher. I think there were about 60 kids in the entire building from Grade 7 to Grade 11. I remember my homeroom had six people in it, and that included a set of twins.

Where did you go after that?

I actually came out this way. That was the year they were introducing Grade 12, and I taught in the Hare Bay-Dover school system from 1983 to 1990 at William Mercer Academy. I was teaching English and Social Studies. In 1990, the same week my son was born, I received a transfer to what was then Gander Junior High. I was there for five years, then the opening came up to come here to Gander Collegiate, and I came here in 1995, and I've been here ever since.

You've established a long-running media program at Gander Collegiate. How did that come about?

When I first moved to Gander, I became friends with Brian Tremblett, and we were very involved in community television, what was then Cable 9. I was approached one day about a provincial government program called Youth Internships. The principal who was here at the time, Jim Pittman, told me, ‘You know, with your background, you should give this some thought.' That was in October 1996. It seemed a great fit - a media course for high school students, to teach them television production. It was a new program, so there was funding available, which was good because to put together a media room the way I envisioned it, it was going to take a lot of money. It was two years taking shape. I started writing the course in October 1986, and we opened our doors in September 1998.

“I really can’t imagine not coming into this classroom every weekday during the school year.” Brian Mosher

How have students, and other teachers and members of the community, reacted to this unique program being offered at Gander Collegiate?

It's been around so long now, it's like it's become part of the building. When people from the outside come in, everyone kind of brings up solid in the doorway, and they start looking around. You're walking into what you think is more of a traditional classroom, but when you get in through the doors, it's not traditional. This is a working TV studio. We have four digital editors, an analog editor, a closed-circuit TV system that extends throughout the building, and we have broadcast capabilities.

You seem to really love what you do. I hear you are actually eligible to retire at the end of this school year. What are your plans?

Well, I can officially say I'm not going to be retiring at the end of this year. I really love teaching, especially this program. And I love hanging out with the kids - they have so much enthusiasm, it's inspiring. I really can't imagine not coming into this classroom every weekday during the school year. It's a great room to be in.

So, you really used to have a thing for coffee, but you say you haven't had one in ages. You've switched to tea. What happened there?

I used to drink several dozens mugs of coffee a day. I used to think it was what made me so hyper. Now, I have a couple of cups of tea each day, so that's kind of cool. Turns out it wasn't the coffee making me hyper, because I still am. Can't blame it on the coffee anymore.

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