Teacher’s Pet: Mr. Austin Pidgeon ’07
By Gabe Morrison ’17
Mr Olson’s previous question: Would you rather rather sing a love song to someone you hate, or a hate song to someone to love?
I think I would much rather sing a love song to someone I hate.
It would be ironic, and maybe it would help us get over our differences.
Is your perspective different now as a teacher than when you were a student?
I would say Brophy isn’t that much different to me. Obviously the iPads in every class is a little bit different, but the student body, the culture, the way things work, that doesn’t seem different to me at all. But the perspective is certainly different.
How did you decide to come back to Brophy to teach?
I thought about teaching when I was a student here. That was a consideration, and I’m not even sure why, I mean if you look at me now I’m teaching guitar, I’m teaching English, and I’m coaching basketball. So there are not many professions where you get to… work with your three greatest interests, and the high school teacher role is one of those unique professions where I can do that.
So you went to a Jesuit University?
Yes, Santa Clara, “the Harvard of the west,” as Mr. (Seamus) Walsh would say.
Did you have any experience with non-Jesuit Education?
I did… My graduate program was a public program at California State University, and one of the main reasons why I went there was because I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and I had only gone to Catholic or Jesuit schools, and I thought that’s a very narrow perspective. That’s one of the things we teach, to go out and understand different perspectives. So I wanted that experience to see what is a public school like even though it was a university and a graduate program… Going there, as much as I loved the school and some of my professors and the work I was doing, and San Francisco was just a wonderful place, it made me appreciate private schools and Jesuit schools in particular so much more.
What are your big hobbies other than guitar and basketball?
Big hobbies are reading, writing, playing basketball and playing music. So I get to do those every day so my life is pretty good at the moment. Other than that, crate digging… like digging through crates of old records… I’m a huge Suns fan; I’m a huge Chelsea FC (Football Club) fan.
Other than The Ukulele Club, do you moderate other clubs?
The BLAM stuff I’m going to do this year. Any opportunity to hang out with and learn from Mr. (John) Damaso ’97 is one I will take… I don’t know first year is tough… that idea of overcommitting is scary to me right now. But I mean would love to be able to participate in all the stuff: the retreats, the Kairos, the Magis, the immersion trips. I went on an immersion trip to El Salvador when I was a student here and that was pretty impactful, and I did Magis and Kairos so I got all of those experiences. I would love to come back and do that.
Is there a different perspective on overcommitting, like as a teacher you have a responsibility to do these things where as a kid you could drop out? Is there a difference from your side?
I wouldn’t say you would just want to easily drop out. I would say two things. When you overcommit like that, when you really put your hand in all these pots, there is a tendency to either just get stressed out because you’re doing so much or to feel that “well my focus isn’t 100 percent on this thing, so I’m not as good at it.” Like an athlete… who comes to Brophy as a freshman who plays football, basketball and baseball, and then decides I want to be the best baseball player I can be, so I’m not going to play football and I’m not going to play basketball, I’m only going to play baseball. I think that’s disappointing as high school students, because more than likely, that kid is not going into the MLB, and he’s sacrificing a great experience football and a great experience playing basketball. So that is my defense for “yes you should overcommit, even if it stresses you out.”…The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to gain something, to earn some reward.
Do you have regrets… or is there any club you wish you had done at Brophy as a student.
No, I don’t have any regrets from Brophy. One of my proudest moments was, I was going through a yearbook after it came out in our Senior Year yearbook. And every single individual in our class, I knew, and knew personally, had some personal experience with. So that was cool to me. I mean I know some people have small groups of friends for whatever reason, not that that is a terrible thing, but I felt like I had done what I just said. I had put myself out there, and I got a lot out of that and I am thankful for that.
Would you like to pose a question for the next faculty:
Would you rather tandem bike with Mr. Tom Danforth ’78 or wrestle with Mr. Chris Agliano?