Walks in the Arbo: Ms. Forrest

The Morristown Beard community welcomed Ms. Mairead Forrest in 2019 as an assistant coach of the junior varsity girl’s soccer team. Since then, Ms. Forrest has worked in the MBS Center for Academic Writing and as a teacher in the English department. Currently, Ms. Forrest teaches English 11: American Narratives Honors and Creative Writing. After the 2019 soccer season, Ms. Forrest, known as Coach Forrest on the field, was promoted to head coach of the MBS Girls’ Soccer Program. Her soccer background is impressive: Ms. Forrest played Division 1 soccer at College of the Holy Cross after a successful high school career at Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison. While MBS students may already be aware of her success on the field, her accomplishments off the field are just as compelling.


What do you enjoy about getting to know your students not only in the classroom but also on the sports field?

I’ve always loved making people feel like they matter and spending time with people. I think that hearing stories that seem trivial or small allows me to get to know their whole personalities and why these things matter to them. It just makes everything else worthwhile.

I’ve always loved making people feel like they matter


Do you think your time as a student-athlete shaped your expectations or style as a teacher?

Yes. Both for how high my expectations are, and also in the way that I interact with kids. I think that a lot of Division 1 athletics is very strenuous and not exactly positioned to support the growth of the players as people. It’s not so much concerned with the human aspect, so I think my time at an independent school and how community-based that was inspired me to make sure that I am pushing other athletes and while I have really high expectations for them, I am never making them feel like they’re not worth it as people, or that their sports or academics are more important than them as kids or teenagers figuring out their identity.


What did you do before coming to MBS and how did your experiences shape your teaching style?

I played soccer pretty extensively, and then I worked in athletics. I went to school. I worked with kids my whole life—usually a lot younger—and I was doing work with advertising and marketing. Even while working in pharmaceutical advertising, I felt so disconnected from feeling like my work mattered, that I was helping people, and that was really important to me. I knew that I loved coaching, so I figured that if I was shifting to make my career path fully feel like I was making an impact, I should have a main career that did the same thing as what coaching does for me.


What do you enjoy most about teaching at MBS?

The freedom to adjust and pace the classes to the kind of kids I have in the room and being able to teach material that I enjoyed at the same age, or even some that I enjoy now.  I have the freedom to connect the content I teach—and make it matter—to everyday life, so the literature doesn’t feel like just a disconnected story. Even though I know the reading we do is not disconnected from reality, MBS allows me to teach in a way where the kids can see that what we learn in the classroom is relevant to their everyday struggles and life and their interests. I have to always be conscious. In years past, I’ve been hesitant to make what I teach explicitly current, but I think this year more than ever it’s important to do that.


What inspired you to teach high school English?

I wanted to teach college actually. I wanted to be a professor. But I realized that at that point students were going to—most of them—would know who they were, so I wouldn’t have a hand in that. I think independent school was so influential in helping me shape who I am now. I wanted to teach kids that were articulate enough to have discussions that taught me things and made me learn—like every class I’m excited to hear what you guys have to say. By teaching high school, I’d still be able to have a hand in helping students shape their views of the world or making sense of the information they are getting outside of the classroom.


What is something the MBS community doesn’t know about you?

The fact that I used to participate in the school musicals when I was in high school is the one that I think of right off the bat. Most people know that I have citizenship in two countries. My dad is an immigrant from Ireland. My students know that because I talk about it. Also that I don’t know how to play any other sports [other than soccer].