Whether Sam Shain ’09 is standing in front of a rowdy crowd while he’s playing a gig or in front of a class of high school students teaching them how to write, he’s confident and capable thanks to the experiences and relationships he built while at Thomas College studying English and playing baseball.
Sam is a high school journalism and creative writing teacher at Maine Arts Academy in Sidney. When he’s not teaching full-time, he’s playing the guitar and singing in the band Scolded Dogs.
“Teaching gives me the opportunity to educate kids about media literacy – something I believe the world desperately needs today – as well as helping kids think creatively and improve their written word,” he said. “Playing music gives me a creative outlet in the studio and the ability to make people move and smile on the dance floor at live shows.”
When Sam first attended Thomas College, he didn’t know anybody.
“I met a lot of wonderful people along the way who inevitably shaped who I am today,” he said. “It’s too hard to name one favorite memory, just all of the colorful characters I met during my time there. I suspect if some of them read this I will receive a text or two making fun of my big head or something.”
Besides friends Sam met, his skills were critically shaped by professors like former Thomas professor Lance Tapley. His senior year under Tapley’s guidance, he was able to focus a lot on writing – including writing a screenplay that he later converted into a novel.
“Tapley’s teaching really turned me into a solid writer and paved the way for me to become a reporter for my first three years out of college,” he said.
Sam said other professors influenced his academic experience, including Dog Wallace in public speaking, which has helped both on the stage and in the classroom.
“I also always loved Dr. Lepley, Mrs. Tibbetts, and Dr. Mechling. These teachers did a wonderful job sharpening students’ skills and getting us to think,” he said.
Sam’s advice to students considering attending Thomas College and studying English is to be flexible.
“The world is changing rapidly – be prepared to work in multiple jobs and careers. Since graduating almost ten years ago, I have painted houses, been a journalist, an Ed Tech III, and now a full-time teacher. All the while, I have made some money as a working musician, doing a few art shows, some freelance writing, and editing a book.”