By Brendan Hinkle ’16
Mr. Philip Birgenheir now has a full semester under his belt as a Brophy teacher, and so far said he has had an awesome year with all his classes going really well.
Mr. Birgenheir attended Central High School in Rapid City, S.D. He received a full scholarship to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
“I wanted the chance to work at a Catholic school to give back the gift that was given to me: the gift of education,” Mr. Birgenheir said.
He said that his love for education is one of the reasons he decided to become a teacher.
“I’m really motivated by education, I think it’s important,” Mr. Birgenheir said. “I hope that I could inspire other students to feel good about education and to learn math specifically.”
Mr. Birgenheir teaches Algebra II and Honors Algebra II.
One of his students, Brendan Jaap ’16, said he liked his class.
“I take Algebra II, and his class is interesting, in a fun way,” Jaap said. “He does homework videos like Ms. Mason did last year.”
Mr. Birgenheir uses a reverse-style teaching method by assigning students to watch YouTube videos for homework, which he makes explaining the concept of the next chapter. They also have a few questions to do on Quest. In class, the students then work on practice problems that deal with the video watched the previous night.
Math Department Chair Mr. Doug Cox said he helped interview Mr. Birgenheir when he was applying for his teaching job, and describes him as an excellent teacher.
“I know he’s working hard and putting a lot of time into making his classes as great as he can,” Cox said. “It’s amazing it’s only his first year here at Brophy because I believe he’s already exceeded all expectations so far.”
In his free time, Mr. Birgenheir said he likes playing video games and reading.
“I’ve always spent way too much time playing video games, and I’ve always liked reading,” Mr. Birgenheir said. “I’ve been playing this game ‘Spelunky,’ and a weird restaurant management game called ‘Cook Serve Delicious,’ which is a huge time suck but really fun. As far as books go I really like two books by Jonathan Safran Foer: ‘Everything’s Illuminated,’ and ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.’”
He also said that he had other hobbies when he was younger.
“I used to be really into paint balling and I also used to be really into skateboarding,” Mr. Birgenheir said. “I also played soccer for my high school.”