Meet Gary

Of all the teachers, aides, counselors, principals, and other individuals who work within the school district, few have elicited such interest among students as Gary Massonga, the former bathroom monitor and current substitute teacher. The Fairviewer sat down with Gary for a bit of Q and A so students can get to know him a little better:

What did you used to do before you became a substitute teacher?

I worked at Rutgers University in Newark, for academic computer support. 

Why did you decide to become a sub?

I was a little older, and I was laid off from the university. It seemed to be a good fit for my background and skills, since I had worked in education all these years, it seemed good to work with students again. Also, I live near Verona, so it seemed like the most convenient option to apply here.

Students got to know you last year as a bathroom monitor; do you prefer subbing?

Honestly, I try to accomplish whatever is requested of me; they needed a bathroom monitor, so I did that. However, I prefer substituting since I like interacting with the kids. I am going to keep subbing; it’s a lot of fun. 

Where do you prefer to sub?

I like a mixture, honestly. The high school is more relaxing, since most of the work is on Google Classroom. In the elementary schools, it requires more energy, but I like working with the kids. So I like my weeks to be a mixture; I want some days in the elementary, some in the older grades.  

One of the most iconic parts of your wardrobe is the hat. Why those hats?
Well, originally, I used to wear them just during the winter, but I’ve started wearing them more and more. I’m bald, and it keeps my head warm, and I also like putting them on for style. 

Why do you cut the brims off your hats?

I like to wear the hats backwards, but I don’t like how the brim touches my back when I wear it like that. So I cut off the brims so I can wear them comfortably. 

What subject do you enjoy subbing the most?

I don’t really have a preference. However, when I was in school, I liked math and physics. 

You read the newspaper a lot. What newspaper do you prefer to read?

The New York Post. I used to read USA Today, but not as much anymore. 

What else do you do?

I’ve been recently approved as a road course driving instructor. I started this year.  I’ll be driving 50 years in February, so I figure I know what I am doing, and I enjoy it. I’ve had State Farm insurance for the last twenty years, and I am in the good driving program, so you know I’m really qualified. 

Where’d you go for college?

I went to Rutgers and NJIT, and have a master’s degree in IT management. 

What’s your favorite TV show?

Jeopardy is probably my favorite. But Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico is a close second.  

What’s your favorite book?

The dictionary. 

What’s your favorite movie?

The Godfather I and II. Departed is a very good movie as well, Alec Baldwin was fantastic in that movie. Scarface and Goodfellas are great as well. 

Favorite leisure activity?

I enjoy working around the house, doing maintenance and stuff. I like working with my hands.