Mr. Basbagill Supplied With ECE Excellence Award

Ethan Bachand ‘18
EE Co-News Editor

ECE Economics teacher, Mr. Gregg Basbigill, received the Instructor Award for Excellence in Course Instruction this past month.

You notice it as soon as you walk in the room. The energy, almost electric, is unparalleled to anything you have ever experienced before in a classroom. It flows throughout the room, creating an atmosphere not only conducive to learning, but sparks new life into what some may consider dull topics. Each student that enters is immediately energized, eager to learn whatever the day’s lesson plan entails for them. The source of all this? One devoted, inspirational history teacher: Mr. Basbagill.

An alumni and social studies teacher for 18 years at Trumbull High School, Mr. Basbagill has taught a wide variety of topics, ranging from United States History to Justice and Law. Yet, many would refer to as his niche is Economics. Aftering teaching the ECE (UConn) Economics class for 6 years, he was officially given with the Instructor Award for Excellence in Course Instruction this past month.

As Mr. Basbagill recounts his story, he admits it was nothing short of a surprise. “ I got a note to call back UConn ECE, and to be honest with you I thought that I was in trouble, I probably forgot to submit grades or forgot to submit a roster, or something like that … Calling kinda sheepishly, they told me I won the award and I was delighted, shocked, and surprised.”

Yet, despite his reputation amongst students for being one of the best teachers in the building, Mr. Basbagill never really thought this honor would be within his reach. When asked whether he would ever receive the award, his response was simple: “No. Absolutely not. Nominating someone for the award is a tedious process and the fact that I was nominated at all meant that someone thought enough of what I do to sit down and write stuff out. Some students wrote some things that were like letters of recommendation, and I was very flattered by that. I never expected to do that, I don’t think I am the best at anything, but it’s nice to feel like people think that you are doing a good job.”

This humility that he exemplifies is not a farce, but rather something that is constantly on display in his class. While some teachers may immediately reject a particular stance without a second thought, each question or query that Mr. Basbagill is faced is answered with a personal response that gently guides a student to the correct idea. This same quality is what inspired students to send in recommendations, which proves to be a significant factor in the award process.

“Because they did it in an unsolicited fashion, that was like the highest compliment to me” said Basbagill, “I felt embarrassed, they took time out to do this– that was pretty special.”  

However, the students do not have a monopoly on the admiration in room A-19, as Mr. Basbagill admits that the kids he mentors are what makes him enjoy his ECE classes. “The kids are very smart, they’re very curious, but they’re also very funny. I like to have fun and laugh, so teaching the class is fun for that reason. Often times they’ll ask questions that are hard questions that I can sit there and think about and figure out the answer to,  so I do like that a lot, the challenge of it.”

While many would take an award such as this for granted, this particular history teacher was adamant that this will have no effect on how he teaches. “Oh it doesn’t. Gonna keep doing things the way I do it. I could always probably be better, but I’m going to try to live up to the award obviously. There’s a million teachers that are better than me probably, but it’s nice to get the award because it makes you feel kinda like you better cross your i’s and dot your t’s a little bit more, ya know?”

While there are thousands upon thousands of teachers in the United States, there are only three teachers this year with the ECE Instructor Award for Excellence honor. They are the ones who have the power to sway a whole classroom with a single lesson and be described as unforgettable. Luckily for us, we have one of those teachers right in our building. Because at the end of the day, there is no substitute for Mr. Basbagill.

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