Teachers’ lives outside of school

Lauren Pak ’21 & Sophie Robson ’21

Have you ever thought about your teachers’ lives outside of grading and school? Here is a compilation of multiple interviews to discover what teachers really do in their free time.

Mrs. Denchfield – Teaches English 10H and 11CP.

  1. Why did you become a teacher?
    “I wanted to be a psychologist [but] I realized that it would be best for me to help people within a certain context and to give people tools that they can use to succeed in life. The classroom provides this opportunity.”
  2. What are some of your current hobbies?
    “Hiking, reading, yoga, playing with my child, watching movies, cooking [and] right now, yard work.”
  3. What is one of your hidden talents?
    I have three. One is being very flexible in terms of yoga, two is I’m really good at picking the best thing on the menu at any restaurant [and] three is I have really good hearing.”
  4. What would students be surprised to find out about you?
    I have a twin sister who works at Newbury Park High School [as an English teacher]. I don’t know because I’m really open.”
  5. What is your dream vacation?
    Tahiti because sharks, diving, warm water [and] sunshine.”
  6. What would your last meal be?
    Grilled cheese with avocado and tomatoes.”
  7. What is your favorite movie or TV show and why?
    I have many. I really like Madman because of the stylistic depiction and the reflective historical perspective [as well as] the characters.”
  8. What is your typical weekend?
    I stay at home or go walk around in my neighborhood [and also] playing with my baby.”
  9. What is one food you hate and why?
    “Red onions because they just…  the smell.. I can’t. There was a point when I just turned the corner [and smelled them] and I couldn’t do it. Regular onions are also offensive but red onions are really tough. I can’t.”
  10. What’s the best thing about being a teacher?
    Getting to know [the] students.”
  11. What is the worst thing about being a teacher?
    “Waking up early.”
  12. In which other teacher’s class would you like to enroll in for a day?
    I would say probably Mr. Holloway’s class because I don’t even know what’s going on and I would want to learn something.”
  13. What current trend confuse you? Why?
    Yeezys or anything to do with Yeezys or the Kardashians.”
  14. How do you remember all of your student’s names?
    I try to use their name three times, at least, on the first or second day [of school].”
  15. If you could take your students anywhere in the world for a field trip, where and why?
    I have done this. I took students to six different countries one year and to Italy. I think I would go to Austria because I want to go to Austria.”
  16. If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share?
    I would share that who you are now is not who you have to be later. You can be anyone you want to be.”

Mr. Rogers – Teaches AP Euro, CPUSH and Comparative Religions

  1. Why did you become a teacher?
    “Honestly, I thought I wanted to be a teacher [but] then I quit after I student taught at a junior high and they convinced me that I was not good at what I was trying to do because nobody loves junior high kids because they’re terrible. And so, eventually I went back and got a masters in history and then I realized that all I could do was either be an FBI agent or a history teacher and I decided I didn’t want to have a gun for the rest of my life so that kind of led me to here. But it’s got to be said, I love my job now.”
  2. What are some of your current hobbies?
    “I play video games with Biersborn, Lang, Freed, and Nigro… so a lot of stupid video game playing. We play board games on Wednesdays. I’m in a band so I play [in] that and so we are recording and playing shows.”
  3. What is one of your hidden talents?
    “I can fold my tongue and it sticks. Not everybody can do that apparently, so that’s all I’ve got. That’s literally my only hidden talent.”
  4. What would students be surprised to find out about you?
    “That at one time I had a lot of hair and I did stupid punk-rock stuff with it. That’s usually mindblowing for people because [I] look very different. So there was a time when I was young and I had hair and it was luscious and vibrant.”
  5. What is your dream vacation?
    “Something history-ish, probably Europe… I’ve been to Italy and would love to go back, but right now the thing that I think about the most is probably Greece, Athens and Corinth and the Oracle of Delphi and Sparta. It’s [a] super dorky history answer but that’s legitimately what I would like to do.”
  6. What would your last meal be?
    “Probably Mexican food or pizza, which I know is embarrassing but I like Papa John’s pizza because of the garlic sauce. So, i mean, no; I can’t die eating Papa John’s… some really good Mexican food [then].”
  7. What is your favorite movie or TV show and why?
    “I really like ‘Interstellar’. I like everything that the Coen Brothers do but probably ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ the most. TV shows… ‘Arrested Development’ was really good. Nobody watched it but ‘The Young Pope,’ which was a mini-series, I thought it was great. But the only other person that I know of that ever watched it was my wife so… I don’t know.”
  8. What is your typical weekend?
    “Now that [I] have a puppy, it’s dealing with him all the time because he’s great but he’s a puppy so he kind of sucks a lot. It’s constantly having to tell him ‘no’. So trying to do that and then he destroys stuff so we try to fix those things. Sometimes we will play games, hang out, or play a show [with my band].”
  9. What is one food you hate and why?
    “I’ve tried really hard to force myself to like sushi, which I’ve actually been successful at, but fish. So, I don’t hate fish but when fish tastes fishy… [with] that taste, I am like 0 to vomit in no time. It’s so gross to me.”
  10. What’s the best thing about being a teacher?
    “I’d lie if one of the first things that didn’t pop into my head was summer vacation for the rest of my life. It’s kind of neat sort of being like the master of your own little zone. You guys are technically my bosses but you’re also technically my clients. Long story short, if out of the 200 kids every year, one of them actually likes me and is affected by that for the rest of their life [and] if I work for 30 to 35 years, that’s like 35 lives that I actually made a positive impact on. And before this I started movies and sold insurance… and that’s not going to change anyone’s life so it’s kind of nice that there will be somebody down the road later in their life that will be like ‘Oh, yeah. That guy! He was kind of cool.’”
  11. What is the worst thing about being a teacher?
    “The worst thing about being a teacher is grading. We hate it so much and honestly if you guys were great at everything we wanted you to do and we could just breeze through it, that’s all we want. We love the idea of us just checking the boxes, but when I give you something hard like [an AP European History] DBQ or LEQ and you guys are struggling, it takes me so long and it makes my soul hurt to do it. It [takes] so much time but on top of that I just feel bad giving people bad news and I’m just like, [while grading], ‘Oh, they’re not going to like this!’ It’s a bummer when you grade stuff that you know people are going to struggle with.”
  12. In which other teacher’s class would you like to enroll in for a day?
    “Mr. Biersborn’s Art History [class]. I love art history and I hear it’s great so I’d like to see that. I like to argue a lot so I’d probably do Zazadill’s Contemporary World Issues [class] because that sounds awesome. And I’m really into the idea of Holnick’s Forensic’s class. And I guess I would do [Advanced] Anatomy too because of the human cadavers, which is crazy that [students] get to [work with] but that seems really cool.
  13. What current trend confuse you? Why?
    “The fact that you guys dress like we did in the 90’s and the fact that some of you are bringing back the cool parts, like hoop earing and the big poofy hair, but the thing that confuses me the most is I would have thought you were picking the best parts of it, but I’ve seen some people wear corduroy and Stussy Jackets. And I’ve actually seen some people write the Stussy “s” still.”
  14. How do you remember all of your student’s names?
    “Oh… I don’t sometimes and I feel really bad. One thing that’s the worst thing ever is to be a history teacher with a terrible memory. And honestly there’s a reason why, for the first few months, I don’t let [students] move seats because then I would have no idea who [they] are. I have my little chart thing that I use that has [their] names and notes [about what they say]. I try really hard. It takes me months and months. And then the kid who never talks to me… I never know. Like, they’ll come up to me and I’m like, ‘Who are you? What class are you in?’ So I feel bad but it’s a hard thing for somebody with crappy memory.”
  15. If you could take your students anywhere in the world for a field trip, where and why?
    “Probably Rome. That city blew me away and I feel like it doesn’t matter if we were there for a day or we were there for a month: there’s just so much to see and so much to talk about. So you could spend the whole time just doing history or you could just not do any of that and just enjoy the Italians and what they do which is really cool too. It’s just a very centralized position of history and European culture.”
  16. If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share?
    “Never break the rules because you never want to go to prison. Don’t ever go to prison because it seems like a terrible place. But if you can bend the rules to your benefit, because you are the one who is most looking out for yourself than anyone else, [then] do what you can so you can make others know that you are unique from the herd of everyone else.

Mr. Harris- Teaches Algebra 2CP and Algebra 1B

  1. Why did you become a teacher?
    “I like kids, I like math, [and] I want to make it enjoyable.”
  2. What are some of your current hobbies?
    “I like to cycle [and] I got a Peloton so I like to ride it. I like to read and play with my kids.”
  3. What is one of your hidden talents?
    I can catch grapes in my mouth from any distance.”
  4. What is your dream vacation?
    “Taking a year off of work and going around the world.”
  5. What would your last meal be?
    “Mastros. A bone and filet lobster, mashed potatoes, crab gnocchi, [and] creamed spinach”
  6. What is your favorite movie or TV show and why?
    “Seinfeld. I just love the humor in that show.”
  7. What is your typical weekend?
    Waking up super early with two yelling kids and playing with them all weekend, exercising.”
  8. What is one food you hate and why?
    “Olives are the only food [I hate]. I eat every single food except olives. I just don’t like the taste; it’s like salt water or something. It’s disgusting!”
  9. What’s the best thing about being a teacher?
    I should say something about the kids but I do like summers off. That’s a good part”
  10. What is the worst thing about being a teacher?
    “The worst thing about being a teacher…  there aren’t too many negatives but sometimes the bureaucracy.”
  11. In which other teacher’s class would you like to enroll in for a day?
    Probably Mr. Biersborn.”
  12. What current trend confuse you? Why?
    Anything new on social media. I just don’t get any of that addiction”
  13. How do you remember all of your student’s names?
    “It’s never been a problem. Practicing.”
  14. If you could take your students anywhere in the world for a field trip, where and why?
    I think just anywhere to get out of the bubble we live in because traveling expands your mind.”
  15. If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share? “To unplug their earpods, airpods, sorry. To remove their phones from their hands and just look around every once in a while.

Mrs. Mehrabi- Teaches Geometry CP and FST

  1. Why did you become a teacher?
    “I love working with students, especially teenagers. I think it’s a nice age and it’s nice to watch you guys grow up before our eyes. I like that the scheduling works for my family so that works really nicely as well.”
  2. What are some of your current hobbies?
    “I love to garden. I love to travel but I don’t do that as much because of our kids and we ski as a family.”
  3. What is one of your hidden talents?
    “I’m kind of a contortionist. I’ve got double jointed arms and stuff so I can do funny little tricks.”
  4. What is your dream vacation?
    Africa.”
  5. What would your last meal be?
    If I was to die? Oh it’s gotta be good. Ice cream or anything yummy and bad for me.”
  6. What is your favorite movie or TV show and why?
    TV show is ‘This Is Us” and then, movie… probably ‘The Notebook’. Both tearjerkers!”
  7. What is your typical weekend?
    Uber service. My daughters have classes and competitions so its busy with their activities.”
  8. What is one food you hate and why?
    “Anything that’s really fishy. I mean, I like sushi but I don’t like bad sushi.”
  9. What’s the best thing about being a teacher?
    “The best is establishing relationships with our students and watching you guys grow.”
  10. What is the worst thing about being a teacher?
    “The worst is grading honestly.”
  11. In which other teacher’s class would you like to enroll in for a day?
    “Mrs. Ryder.”
  12. What current trend confuses you? Why?
    “All the texting and all the stuff that has to do with technology [is what] I’m clueless on.”
  13. How do you remember all of your student’s names?
    Usually by where they sit but when they change seats it messes me up. So usually by their personalities.”
  14. If you could take your students anywhere in the world for a field trip, where and why?
    That’s a good question honestly…  I think Europe only because I had a great experience there myself and I feel like it opened up my eyes. There’s so many different cultures in a small area like within hours you can be in a new country. You have access to so many different cultures.”
  15. If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share?
    “Slow down, try to enjoy the process and not rush through it. I feel like you guys have a lot of pressure on you and you’re just kinda rushed through the whole experience. I would encourage you to slow down and enjoy the ride.”

Mrs. Cord- Teaches Chemistry CP and H

  1. Why did you become a teacher?
    “When I was in college I was a teacher’s assistant for fourth grade and I really enjoyed seeing the kids learn and grown and working with them. At that time I was good at math so I actually became a math teacher first.”
  2. What are some of your current hobbies?
    “I like to read and play pickleball when my arm is not injured. I like to watch HGTV and the Food Channel. I like to cook and bake.”
  3. What is one of your hidden talents?
    “Probably making up mnemonics.”
  4. What would students be surprised to find out about you?
    “That I played soccer for many years and was MVP my junior and senior year.”
  5. What is your dream vacation?
    “To go back to Hawaii and lay on the beach for days.”
  6. What would your last meal be?
    “Probably my best friend’s food. She cooks for me sometimes. She makes this Israeli dish that has turkey, chicken, rice, spices, sour cream, yogurt and almonds.”
  7. What is your favorite movie or TV show and why?
    “Probably… on the HGTV channel. Just all those house flipping TV shows.”
  8. What is your typical weekend?
    “Grade papers, grocery shop, do laundry and maybe read a little.”
  9. What is one food you hate and why?
    “I hate eggplant because to me it’s very slimy and without a lot of flavor.”
  10. What’s the best thing about being a teacher?
    “…Interacting with students and watching them grow and be successful.”
  11. What is the worst thing about being a teacher?
    “Watching my students fail when they don’t try or can’t do it and I can’t figure out how to help them succeed.”
  12. In which other teacher’s class would you like to enroll in for a day?
    “Mrs. Bush’s art class.”
  13. What current trend confuse you? Why?
    “I don’t know… any trends lately.”
  14. How do you remember all of your student’s names?
    “I look at the seating chart a lot [to] memorize it.”
  15. If you could take your students anywhere in the world for a field trip, where and why?
    “Probably Europe. No country in particular but I think it’s so different from America and it would give [the students] exposure to other places and make them realize sometimes how much they have.”
  16. If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share?
    “Find what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at and put those two together to find your career.”

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