Headshot of Mark Lawton

Mark Lawton

English Language Arts Teacher

Bachelor of Science Degree in Professional Writing and Post-Baccalaureate Teaching Certification, Fitchburg State University; Master’s Degree in Curriculum Design and Instruction, Western Governors University (in progress) 

Mark Lawton started teaching in 2011 and joined TEC Connections Academy Commonwealth Virtual School in 2020. He teaches English Language Arts to students in seventh grade.

Why I Became a Teacher

When I look back at my life, I realized that many of the people who changed my life were teachers. I thought becoming a teacher would be a tremendous way to pay them back. I’m still amazed by the unselfishness and fortitude of the teachers I work with (and the one I’m married to). 

The most rewarding part of teaching here is the satisfaction of the caretakers and students who earn great grades. I love teaching students online because a lot of them feel more comfortable here and can truly flourish in this environment. They can be themselves and not feel the pressure they may feel at a brick-and-mortar school. 
One way I foster engagement and interaction among students is by incorporating their interests—including books, films, TV shows, and music—into my face-to-face LiveLesson® sessions. Also, I love to hold talent shows where students can showcase their art, play an instrument, or show off their hobby—some even display their gaming ability. 

The Online School Experience at TEC Connections Academy Commonwealth Virtual School

I love to start every class with music. Usually, the song lyrics relate to the topic of that day. For example, I’ll play “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten when we discuss argumentative writing. Or Weird Al’s “Word Crimes” when we talk about grammar. The kids love it and always guess possible future songs. It gets them thinking about what we’re learning. 

One thing I tell parents considering this school is that we’re all in this together. Every year we get many new students and teachers, so it’s a cool reciprocal relationship where we learn from each other. I appreciate having new students because I learn so much from them. 

My Personal Interests

I’m the father of two children, Harrison and Jude, both named for a Beatles connection. I love hanging out with them and seeing them grow. I’m also a huge fan of reading, music, and film—and I’m a musician and play guitar, bass, and ukulele. I’ve been in a number of bands and have had the time of my life. 

“Students here learn self-advocacy and how to rely on themselves. They reach out to teachers or counselors if they need help.”  

— Mr. Lawton