WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- A local music teacher is being honored by the state education commissioner. He says he's the lucky one just getting to do what he loves everyday.
Some high school musicians are playing a piece written by their own band teacher: a jazz musician and educator who calls himself a spoiled brat, because he says, "I walk in here every day to an amazing school and teach the greatest kids in the world, and then on the weekends or at night, I go out and play with amazing musicians."
The son of Italian immigrants, John Mastroianni went to and then taught in Bridgeport schools and now he teaches at West Hartford's Hall High.
His students know he's a great teacher, but they didn't know what an assembly Tuesday was for, until the Education Commissioner let the cat out of the bag.
"I am proud to announce that Mr. Mastroianni is Connecticut's State Teacher of the Year for 2013," said Stefan Pryor, CT Education Commissioner.
State Teacher of the Year is a big deal. It's highly competitive and a long process with lots of interviews. And what people said about Mastroianni in those interviews might be more rewarding than the award itself.
"Because just hearing what the students said and what the parents said...I think I'm just at the point now where I can actually talk about it and not break down," he said. "How many times have I told this to you guys? I am the biggest spoiled brat on the planet."
He jokes about crying a lot, but made it through his speech without breaking down, and the Teacher of the Year kept teaching the whole time.
"And remember work is only work if you'd rather be doing something else and there is nothing else I'd rather be doing," he said.
It's visible in his face, he loves the job. The title Teacher of the Year shows just how much.
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