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Burns uses experience to teach government, D.C. immersion

Photo by Isaac Myers ’18 – Mr. Burns teaches his U.S. Government class Feb. 18, a subject in which he has more than 25 years of experience. Mr. Burns also teaches U.S. History, which is now a sophomore class.

By Jack McAuslan ’16

Mr. John Burns has been teaching social studies courses at Brophy since 2008 when he came from Wisconsin.

Mr. Burns is originally from Chicago and he has 25 years of experience teaching U.S. Government, which he teaches alongside U.S. History, a sophomore class this year.

Patrick McGovern ’16 has had Mr. Burns for both U.S. History and Government in the last two years.

“He has a style of teaching that makes expectations for students clear,” McGovern said. “It is easy to tell that he takes his work very seriously but enjoys it just as much.”

Students who have had Mr. Burns say that they know him well from of his rigorous rubrics and original but repetitive jokes.

“His jokes went from being really funny to not so funny to hilarious because of how often he says them,” McGovern said. “They’re basically part of the curriculum.”

Several years ago, Mr. Matt Hooten talked to Mr. Burns about wanting to teach U.S. Government based on themes throughout history rather than in chronological order.

Mr. Burns and I got to know each other very well because we both teach U.S. History and coach basketball,” Mr. Hooten said. “We spent that summer teaching U.S. History thematically, bouncing ideas off each other, and then we worked to further develop the curriculum together after that.”

Mr. Hooten has been teaching at Brophy for just one more year than Mr. Burns. 

Mr. Burns also brought students on a trip to Washington, D.C. over the summer to learn about the government first hand.

“I’ve always wanted to create some sort of immersion experience with government,” Mr. Burns said “We did not want it to be a tourist trip to just look at stuff.”

Christian Smith ’16 and Bailey Hopkins ’16 were two students who went on the D.C. trip.

“I expected it to be a sort of touristy trip, where we would just walk around and go to museums, but it was a lot more than that,” Smith said

Mr. Burns made an awesome summer class. We all learned a lot more about government than we expected, visiting state representatives of Arizona and sitting in on real congressional meetings,” Hopkins said.