Mr. Cullen : Managing Two Schools

Attending University While Working At The Morgan School

Riley Schmidt, Writer, Reporter, Photographer

In-school suspension teacher, Robert Cullen, is known throughout The Morgan School. Graduating in 2013 from Morgan, Mr. Cullen has always felt a pullback to Morgan. He is able to be in the same environment he was once in and give students the environment they want. He not only works in the school at the moment, but is going to a different school at the same time.

Mr. Cullen attended Southern Connecticut State University directly after Morgan. While he was attending Southern, he went to school to become a teacher, at first debating if he wanted to go to school or join the military. Mr. Cullen earned his master’s degree in history at Southern New Hampshire University, from 2018 to 2020, but he soon realized he wanted to be involved in a school. Thus, he came back to Southern Connecticut State University to earn a degree in education. At the moment, Mr. Cullen is enrolled in the education program at Southern, but is debating whether to drop education and go for his master’s of social work.

Mr. Cullen attends school one day a week from five to seven at night. He is taking education classes, where he learns about curriculum, Individualized Education Program (IEP)meetings, and basic information that every future teacher would need.  His passion is in history. He would love to become a history teacher.  To become a teacher, which is one of Mr. Cullen’s top options, he would have to complete 16 weeks of unpaid student teaching. His job would be to teach the class the material that would be needed. At the moment, he is completing 30 observation hours in history teacher Diana Rizzo’s class. He speaks highly of Mrs. Rizzo: “She is awesome. She is one of my favorite teachers that I had when I went to Morgan. She is also one of the only ones who is certified for me to watch over her class.” Mr. Cullen will complete his education degree and be certified to teach in two years, 2024. After he graduates, he is not very picky as to where he would like to work. Mr. Cullen said, “I would love to teach here at Morgan or be a social worker here at Morgan, but I don’t have a specific town. I just need a job.”

When Mr. Cullen is not attending school at Southern, he is attending school at Morgan. During this job, Mr. Cullen assists students with their needs and figures out why they have ended up in in-school suspension. He said, “I’m actually debating whether I want to be a teacher or not. This job has opened my eyes to how much I can really help people, which is why I might go into the realm of social work.” He has groups of different students coming to him every day to get advice or to have chats. Mr. Cullen would love to help out more with students’ problems, whether it be relationship, at home problems, mental health problems. He wants students to be aware that he is always there and willing to help.

Managing school and work for Mr. Cullen is relatively easy. He knows that school has to come first, but since he only goes on campus one day a week, it is easy for him to manage work in the day, and get school done in the evening. He is also able to get some school work done throughout the day.

Mr. Cullen directing students
Riley Schmidt

Mr. Cullen is always in the hallways supervising students and having conversations with students about anything they have the desire to talk about. He makes sure that kids are happy and having a good day. If not, he gives wise advice on how to deal with their situation. A big part of Mr. Cullen’s job is being the “uncle”. He gives advice to students that they can hold on to and carry on with throughout high school and their future careers.

Once he gets his degree, he plans on using it. He definitely wants to continue working in a school, not just to help the kids, but because he will have days off and the summer off. After he earns certification to work in a school as a teacher or social worker, ISS is out of his view. The ISS position only requires a bachelor’s degree, and Mr. Cullen would love to use his new degree, either in education or in social work, to benefit kids even more.

Mr. Cullen said, “I feel like I can do a lot in helping kids with their unique situations.” He goes on to explain how he has seen and dealt with a lot in his life, and he wants to guide those students to the right path. Mr. Cullen has the ability to help kids decide their futures, whether it is taking on college or a job right away.

Sophomore Kaylyn DaRos states that Mr. Cullen, “seems to be one of the very few teachers that actually cares about the mental well beings of students.”

Senior Todd Bellinger exclaimed his appreciation for Mr. Cullen. “He is great. He’s awesome. He is the best ISS dude I have ever met. Cullen is top tier for substitutes and one of the coolest guys in the school.”