Mr. T's Science Scene

My name is Michael Thomas Pray.  My nickname is Mr. T!! This name came about from my work in daycare when Mr. Mike and Mr. Pray seemed to dorky or to formal. I decided on Mr. Thomas and the kids shortened it to Mr. T- that name has worked out well for me ever since.

I hold a Bachelors degree from Geneseo in Archaeology with a Minor in Biology and a concentration in Art Studio. I obtained my teaching certificate and Masters in Education from SUNY Brockport in 1995.  I was hired diretly out of college in 1995 and have spent my entire teaching career (25 years!) in House C of Bay Trail!  In 2018 I completed my Administrative Certificate in both District and Building Leadership.

I am what you might call "eclectic" in that teaching was NOT my first choice. In fact, through my four years at Geneseo, teaching was not even considered an option! I have done a variety of jobs over the years including bartending, automobile renting, working in the exhibits department at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, waitering, painting, and furniture refinishing. I've also been a "roady", designed sound and lighting for stage productions, and traveled NYS on my motorcycle.

Besides teaching, I sing in my church choir, coach (if needed) with the Bay Trail Science Olympiad Team, bike, tool around on my motorcycle, and a plethora of "nerd stuff".  Every Thursday night used to be "Big Bang Theory" night- this show ROCKED!!  

I think it is important to have role models.  Here are the top four peole I would like to meet, admire, or simply find entirely relatable:

1.  Charles Darwin:  A man who, without really intending to, was able to figure out the mechanics of changing life and developed one of the most important scientific theories in history.  All this by observing, questioning, seeking out evidence, and applying the work of others.  A bit of a recluse, devoted family man, and one of my heros.

2.  Bill Nye (the Science Guy):  What can I say. . . my entire teaching philosophy owes itself entirely to the Bill Nye the Science Guy show.  Bill Nye showed that science was fun, entertaining, and full of wonder.  His enthusiasm as a character and a person for science is inspiring.  I am constantly finding myself having to focus back to Bill Nye as the vocation of teaching gets more and more "fixed"!

3.  Mike Rowe:  The star of Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe's S.W.E.A.T. Pledge has changed my entire mindset both towards my job as a teacher in Penfield and what I expect from my students.  

4.  Sheldon:  As a character, Sheldon Cooper has a lot of quirks that are not always "quirky" or acceptable and I admire that the show has him confronting those from time to time.  I am also proud of the fact that his character (and those of Leonard, Raj, and Howard) don't go around trying to make excuses for their interests or their intelligence.  They show that being smart is a good thing.

For all those who don't know what you want to study in high school, do "when you get older," or simply what it is that interests you. . . don't worry. What you were meant to do will come along sooner or later and when you find it you will know. . . really!!!! :-) I didn't know I wanted to be a teacher for most of my life! In fact, the reason I got into working with kids in the first place was because of the movie 'Kindergarten Cop'!! No lie! So you see, you just never know what will inspire you take certain paths in life. As always, keep an open mind and don't be afraid to try things.

I was married to Sandy Hise (an elementary teacher at State Road in Webster) on June 27th, 1998 and since then we have had two boys. Darwin (yes, he is named after Charles Darwin!) - he is currently a Sophmore Industrial Engineering major at RIT.  Two and half years later, Noah came along- he is a Senior in high school with aspirations of attending Cornell as a Theoretical Physics major.   And. . . . we're done!

That's it. I hope you learned something new and (for some of you) I'll see you later.