Get to Know: Mr. Grooms


Anne Johnakin

Mr. Grooms teaching the CGS AP European History class

Anne Johnakin, Editor

Mr. Chris Grooms, the new history teacher in the Commonwealth Governor’s School, went to Virginia Tech, obtaining a Bachelor of History and a Master of Curriculum and Instruction, after graduating from Mountain View in 2013.

In high school, Grooms was a student of the Commonwealth Governor’s School, travelling to North Stafford High School for his four core classes. He was also a player on the baseball team all four years.

“I didn’t dislike high school,” Grooms said, “but I focused all my energy on getting good grades so I could go school or doing well at baseball. I would definitely do high school differently if I could go back and do it again.”

Grooms didn’t have much school spirit while he was in high school, which is something he regrets.

“I was not big into my high school. I saw it as a step. I saw it as something I had to do before I could go to college and learn what I wanted to learn.”

The transition from high school to college was difficult for Grooms, especially coming from such a small social circle in CGS.

“I dealt with some mental health issues my first two years which probably is what set me on my path to become a teacher,” Grooms said, “So while my grades certainly suffered those two years, and I wish I could’ve done them a maybe a little bit differently, I don’t think I would change them anymore because it set me to where I am now.”

Grooms got his start coaching baseball while in high school, helping out with his younger brother’s team and a summer travel team.

“I was 18, coaching 14-year-olds, which makes being 23, teaching 18-year-olds not terribly awkward.”

Groom’s senior yearbook photo from Mountain View in 2013

Grooms started coaching high school baseball at Christiansburg High School in his senior year of college. He will be coaching at Forge this spring. Many of the lessons Grooms learned on the field translate to the classroom.

“Building relationships is one of the most important things you can do if you want somebody to learn from you. Someone has to trust you enough to listen to what you’re saying and take it to heart.”

Grooms has found his groove teaching at Forge, but it doesn’t come without struggles. Lesson planning months in advance and talking to parents proves to be difficult. Not to mention, working with teachers who once were your teacher brings a whole new level to the situation.

“I think what makes it the most awkward is they know me as a student, and now they have to get me as a coworker,” Grooms said, speaking of his old teachers at North Stafford, “Mrs. Thompson has kicked me out of her class before and now she has to look at me like ‘oh you’re an adult too.’”

Despite the struggles, Grooms is appreciative for the chance he has teaching at this level so early in his career. While at Tech, Grooms received the Secondary Teacher of Promise Award. In the future, he aspires to move up the ranks of education.

“I certainly have enjoyed being a classroom teacher so far but I don’t know if I have the temperament to do it for thirty years. I think even though teachers play a huge role in the day to day, but you need to climb higher within the structure to effect larger changes.”

Drawing on both his experience as a coach and a student, Grooms has found the most paramount thing is to “love what you’re doing and love who you’re doing it with, or everything will fall apart.”