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Schmidbauer brings Mr. Miagi-like attitude to classroom

By Ian C. Beck ’12

Mr. Andy Schmidbauer ’'88 teaches a Spanish II class from his podium.

The teacher walks through the aisles of his desks, shouting in apparent rage. He nears a student’s desk and raises a clenched fist, slamming it down on a computer and shattering it.

In this now popular video the reality is that the computer is stripped of all valuable parts, just a realistic technological shell. The teacher is Mr. Andrew Schmidbauer ’88 and this is just one of the many ways the former Brophy student brings a funny, off-the-wall attitude to the classroom.

“The things that I think make Brophy kind of what we’re known for now didn’t exist,” said Mr. Schmidbauer when asked about his time as a Bronco, adding that fact didn’t diminish his own time as a student.

When he attended Brophy there were no immersion trips, no Office of Faith and Justice and certainly no Eller, Piper or Harper Great Hall. He said there were roughly 260 students in his graduating class and that expectations for students are much higher now.

Mr. Schmidbauer said he draws from the knowledge and wisdom of two grizzled movie characters: Jedi Master Yoda and Mr. Miagi.

Yoda teaches “do or do not, there is no try,” and Mr. Schmidbauer said he thinks there is a lot of truth in that.

“Effort goes a long way,” he said.

Mr. Schmidbauer jokes in his classes he’d enjoy being a Kobra-Kai, but in reality he’d rather be Mr. Miagi.

He said the wise old man is surprisingly similar to Spanish teachers.

“Mr. Miagi is a lot like a Spanish teachers, there’s a lot of trust that goes into it,” he said.

There is also a back-story to how Mr. Schmidbauer became a Spanish teacher at Brophy.

As a double-major in college, he wanted to teach history but when he applied at BCP there was an opening in the Spanish department, a position he has held since.

In addition to teaching Honors Spanish II and regular Spanish III, Mr. Schmidbauer coaches cross country in the fall and is an assistant coach on the volleyball team in the spring.

“It’s a nice way to spend time with students outside of the classroom and I think there’s a different relationship that coaches have with athletes, and it’s just another way for me to spend time with students,” he said.

Mr. Schmidbauer may come off as the tough and strict teacher but in all actuality he’s not, describing himself as “demanding but fair,” “understanding” and “caring.”

“I always have the best interest of the students at heart, it might not always be perceived that way,” he said.

However, there is a also a funny side to Mr. Schmidbauer, who can keep students entertained with occasional off-the-wall comments.

He does not like white bread, especially with the crust cut off. In his third period Honors Spanish II class he nicknamed Justin Bessant ’12 “gorrilloso,” which translates to gorilla bear.

Sophomore Akshay Syal ’12 has had Mr. Schmidbauer as his Spanish teacher for two years now and has high praise for the Brophy grad.

“He is a great teacher and his lectures are easy to follow. He also has a great sense of humor,” Syal wrote in an e-mail.

Syal said he enjoys Mr. Schmidbauer’s class because “he explains the subject matter well and he loves to answer any question a student might have.”

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