Faculty Spotlight: Mary (Bischoff) Cosier ’12
Father Gabriel Richard High School teachers are dedicated and caring, and bring unique approaches and techniques to their classrooms. They all share the common mission to help form the next generation of Disciples of Christ and prepare our students for their futures. Faculty Spotlights are an opportunity to learn a bit more about our outstanding faculty. This is the third spotlight in the series.
Education: Grand Valley State University
Teaches: English I, Honors English I, English III
A 2012 graduate of FGR, Mary (Bischoff) Cosier has taught at the school since 2017. The alumna attributes her decision to return to FGR to the intentional and genuine community present in the school, explaining that “people just love and care for each other here, and that was apparent from the moment I walked in the door for the first time in five years.”
Mrs. Cosier chose to become an English teacher because she knows the value of a good English class. From a young age, she understood that “books are more than just stories,” and she credits Edmund Miller, her then-middle school teacher and now a current instructor at FGR, for showing her how “to pick things apart and to think critically” about what she was reading.
One of Mrs. Cosier’s favorite works to teach is the epic poem Paradise Lost. John Milton interweaves fiction with the Bible throughout the poem, so it “gets the kids to think on their feet. They don’t know what’s going to happen next, because it’s not the Bible.” The alumna also enjoys teaching Paradise Lost because of its unique perspective. The work is written in a way which sympathizes with Satan, so it catches students off guard and demands that they “shift their perspective, maybe for the first time, and be creeped out that they feel bad for Satan.”
One of Mrs. Cosier’s favorite teaching moments happened when she assigned Hamlet to a group of nine boys in her English Foundations II class in 2018. Originally, her students were unhappy to hear that they would be reading the play since they found Shakespeare “very boring.” As Mrs. Cosier thought of solutions to this mentality, she realized that “there are ten main characters in Hamlet, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern can kind of just be pushed into one.” When her students came to class, she assigned roles to each person so they could read the play aloud. Mrs. Cosier recalls that the boys “got so involved and were so intrigued because they each took on their role personally, even if it was Ophelia.” The literature teacher talked to these students years after her class and found that they still remembered portions of the play and still enjoyed talking about it. “For kids to be that involved and enjoying Shakespeare so much was a huge success.”
Mrs. Cosier is one of several alumni who teach at FGR. We are thankful that she has chosen to return to the school after graduating from it, and in doing so, to carry on our legacy of instilling a sense of wonder and a love of truth, goodness, and beauty in the minds of our students.