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73 Questions with Mr. McCabe (Part one)

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For this week’s article, I decided to write 73 questions about teaching and writing. (Please don’t question my insanity or judgement) I got my Journalism teacher, Mr. McCabe to do this article with me. Thank gosh he stayed patient and made it through 28 out of 73 questions. Let’s just get this interview started!

1.) To start off this interview, please tell us about yourself.

I am 58 years old. I am a devoted husband and father. I care a lot about my family. I am a teacher and  maker. I invent magic tricks and stuff. I like to be creative. I am athletic. I run, play soccer and ride bikes.

2.) As a kid, was it your dream to become a middle school teacher?

No. When I went to college, I wanted to be a lawyer but when I was a kid, I had no idea what I wanted to be. Even when I was in school, I decided not be a lawyer. After college, I still didn’t want to be a lawyer, but then I realized I was good at computer programming. I became a computer programmer for a couple years.

3.) What was the reason why you wanted to become a teacher?

I was a writer for television which was a great job but it was unreliable and did not have a good income. My wife was already a teacher and I would sometimes tutor her students and I like it. I then decided to be a teacher because it was a more stable job.

4.) List three of your strengths as a teacher.

Entertaining. I care about the kids first. I am pretty smart.

5.) List three of your weaknesses as a teacher.

I lose my temper sometimes. I am not very good at little paperwork. I get distracted easily.

6.) Have you ever thought about a different career? If so, what?

Well I had a career as a computer programming and a writer but other than those, I didn’t think of any other careers that I would enjoy.

7.) What was you major in college?

Psychology

8.) What is the best part of your job?

Every now and then, I would explain something to a kid and they would say oh. That is the best part.

9.) What is the worst part of your job?

Kids talking while I’m addressing the class.

10.) How long have you been teaching?

14 years

11.) Why did you want to be a Journalism/ English teacher and not a science or math teacher?

I am the writer so I wanted to teach English because it is the thing I am pretty good at. I can teach math but I’m not as passionate as I am with English

12.) What is the easiest part about being a teacher?

Caring about kids because that’s what I cared about even before I was a teacher

13.) What is the hardest part about being a teacher?

I have had a lot of students of mine die. Another hard part is reminding myself that some kids have problems that they are dealing  with outside of school and if I react to them as if they are being jerks, I would make it worse.

14.) Is teaching students today harder than teaching students when you first started or is it easier?

It is easier because I am better at it. All of the things students struggle with now is the same thing I struggled with when I was in school.

15.) Would you recommend teaching as a profession? Why or why not?

I would recommend it to certain people but some won’t be a good fit for a teacher.

16.) When you are not at school teaching, what activities would you be doing?

Playing sports or being physically active. riding bikes, walking my dog, riding horses, etc.

17.) If you were to take this class on a field trip, where would we go?

The first choice is to go to El Camino Real High School and visit their newspaper or journalism  system. My next best choice is to go down to ESPN so we could go and watch tv news. Maybe the LA Times, but that’s more in the olden times.

18.) Does technology make teaching difficult or easier?

Much much much much easier because it is easier to prepare materials for the class and be able to show videos and power points to class. The biggest use of technology is for parents to keep track of their kids grades.

19.) If you had to be a science, history, or math teacher for a week, which would you choose and why?

That is fascinating. On the one hand, I think History teachers have it the hardest because they have so much to memorize and not enough time to teach students the importance of history. Maybe Science because it still includes English, but maybe Math because I could teach the students how to do word problems.

20.) Do you see any differences between your earlier classes and your later classes?

Absolutely. The worst behaved class is always fifth period because kids probably don’t have the endurance or strength. Fifth period is worst because you are sitting in your chair for multiple hours and then you get a break but then you have to come back and sit for another hour or so.

21.) How do you remember all your student’s names?

I will tell you how, but I should point out that I’m not good at that. First, I make them sit alphabetically by first names. Then if I don’t know their name for sure, I guess. I teach this to my students, if they guess, they could get better at what they are learning.

22.) Tell me about your first day as a teacher.

It was fascinating because when you go get your teaching credentials you learn all these things like grading things and give comments and feedback. But they don’t teach you how to do basic things like take roll or put grades in on time.

23.) Name a funny moment you’ve had in either last year’s or this year’s classes.

There are so many that it’s hard to remember each one. But, there was one time a kid (who was not my student) tried ditching his class and stayed in my class. I thought that was kind of a compliment because they hid in my class and not the bathroom.

24.) Why did you choose to teach at Hale Charter Academy?

Another great question. When I did my student teaching, I taught here and at Canoga. One semester here and there. Hale was a good school and it was close to home.

25.) What are your favorite books?

My very favorite book is a Baroque trilogy by Neil Stephenson.  3 900 page historical fiction book.

26.) What are your favorite movies?

My favorite movie is Momento directing by the guy who did Interstellar, Christopher Nolan.

27.) What is it like being a teacher?

There is a lot of stress because there are certain rules like I have to be there exactly at this time and everything is laid out like grades have to be done at this time. But then you have lots of time and vacations to relax. In some parts it is stressful and some parts it is relaxing.

28.) Would you say that you are a role model for your students?

I hope that I demonstrate respect for other people and basic human rights. Treating people good and working hard and also trying to be creative.

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73 Questions with Mr. McCabe (Part one)