Faculty Focus: Mr. Mauthe

Kyle Anthony, Writer

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Josh Mauthe is an English teacher at JPII. He teaches honors sophomore English, standard senior English, and the film studies Innov8. He has been teaching for 14 years, including 10 years in public schools before joining the staff at JPII. We asked Mr. Mauthe a few questions about JPII and what he enjoys outside of school.

Herald on the Hill: Why did you choose to teach at JPII?

Mauthe: One of the biggest reasons was, after teaching in public school, I was tired of having to give so many tests to the kids. And not my class tests. Standardized tests. And I was sick of standardized tests.

Herald: Why did you not like standardized tests?

Mauthe: They don’t help anybody. They didn’t count, it didn’t teach anything, and the kids hated it. We had to prep them for the test, and for that 10 percent of time I had to give them tests, I had to spend time prepping them for each one, and reviewing for each one. I hated it, and so I came here, and I can actually teach.

Herald: How long do you plan to stay with JPII?

Mauthe: I don’t plan on going anywhere, I really like it here, and I’m super happy here.

Herald: What do you think your weakness is as a teacher?

Mauthe: Coming from public school, I tend to be very mellow. My standards for misbehavior are so high now, what passes for misbehavior at JPII is not really high on my radar.

Herald: How did it feel to be a first year Harvest Award winner?

Mauthe: I don’t do praise well. I get really uncomfortable. I had a really miserable couple of years at public schools before I came here, and it felt really rewarding. I’m not going to lie. It feels nice to be appreciated. I would never brag about it, I would never rub it in, and if I never won another one, I’d be happy with the ones I have. But it meant a lot to me, even if I am super uncomfortable and awkward about it.

Herald: Why do you think you are so loved by your students?

Mauthe: I’ll tell you what I think the secret of being a good teacher is, and that is actually enjoying your job. And I wanna be clear, your job isn’t necessarily your subject, it’s teaching. I would know teachers in public school, who clearly just hated teenagers, and I was like, “This is not the job for you.” If you can’t find it funny when kids do goofy things, get out of this job. Have fun with it, and enjoy it. If you have fun with it, it will rub off on everybody. I don’t know why people like me, but I think in general what has made me successful as a teacher is enjoying my job, and realizing it’s fun. I have a pretty good job, and I enjoy it.

Herald: Do you think JPII is too tough on its students?

Mauthe: I cannot compare it to what it was before I came, but I feel like Mr. Deely has made a huge effort to balance it out. I think it can be, but there is something to be said for the fact that, for most of you guys, college will be a step down. It can be, but I like the fact that we’re in a school that actually challenges its students. I think in general, I do like the way this school says we trust you guys.

Herald: What are you currently reading for enjoyment?

Mauthe: I’m re-reading Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series for enjoyment. I’ve read it all before bit by bit when it came out. I haven’t read this series in 10 years, and I’m just about to start the last book, and I love it. It is messy and big and sprawling. Stephen King is my favorite writer who ever lived, and I love the “Dark Tower” set for all its flaws. I really love it.

Herald: What is your favorite book, movie, and podcast?

Mauthe: My all time favorite book is probably “Catch 22.” Anything King has written is high on the list. I have way too many movies to pick. I’ll toss out an old school pick. It’s one I come back to again and again. It’s an old movie from 1960 called “The Apartment.” It’s one of my all time favorite movies. It’s kind of half comedy, half drama, and I love it. If you ask me tomorrow, I would have a totally different movie. I keep a book review log, where I review every book and movie I’ve watched since 2004, and I just looked and I’ve watched 2,600 movies. A podcast called “The Adventure Zone” is my all time favorite podcast.

Herald: What do you like and dislike about your students?

Mauthe: I like talking to them, and I think it’s hilarious to listen. I sarcastically joke that my favorite part of teaching high school is that I’m not in high school anymore, but I just love hearing random thoughts. I was telling someone that my favorite thing about annotations is where somebody got a little bored and started writing weird comments on the side. I like getting to know them as people and their quirks. As for what I dislike, I don’t really know. I tell people, and it sounds like I’m lying, but I can count on one hand the number of kids I have disliked over all my years of teaching.

Herald: What time period do you wish you lived in and why?

Mauthe: That’s a good one. Part of me thinks that it would have been really cool to grow up in the ‘60s, where I could have seen some of these icons, to see Pink Floyd before they hit it big, to go to Woodstock. Like that would be incredible, but then I think about the bad parts of the ‘60s. Deep down I say I’d love to see these other times, but then I think, I really like twitter.

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