Teacher Feature: Mr. Maher

  1. What did you do before you came to CRHS?
    • Before I was at CRHS, I was a young artist living in NYC with a degree in theater. Basically, I worked part time jobs here and there to support an acting career.
    • I was a swimming teacher for kids from 2-10 and I felt like a superhero because I got to wear a wetsuit everyday.
    • I met my wife while teaching swimming. She was the nanny for a little boy who was taking swimming lessons and there was this dashing swim instructor who swept her off her feet, this Prince Charming if you will.
  2. Why did you switch from actor to teacher?
    • Because I am a miserable failure as an actor… No, its complex, trying to support an individual artistic lifestyle and have a family at the same time made it difficult to do both, so it came time for a sacrifice. I had to decide that a stable income and livelihood would be more beneficial to start a life. (Essentially, he had to grow up.)
  3. What was it like being on a soap opera?
    • All My Children offered me a position as a recurring bartender for a certain bar set. The whole building was just a series of sets, from airports to hotel rooms, to bars. So whenever they used the particular bar set, I was their man. I did a number of days on this… but here’s the thing about acting, your classical training is for serious stuff and then suddenly you are performing as a fake bartender. It becomes disconcerting that this is all your doing with your training (and thus your life). I wanted to get an “under-5” (under-5 means you get paid a certain amount for under-5 lines, which is above no-lines and under the “under-10” lines category) but then I realized it wasn’t very challenging artistically. It wound up being a wake-up call… others were vying for TV-commercials and I was sort of like “so you get a Clorox bleach commercial… now what?” There’s artistic integrity but there’s also human jealousy… sometimes I see my old friend on the Clorox commercial and I think, “could that have been me?” But its kind of dangerous to play the “what if game” since there are endless possibilities.
  4. Where did you teach before coming here?
    • I taught in Harlem NYC, which was a completely different environment. I started teaching before I had any student-teaching experience. I learned on the spot through a program that temporarily certifies you and uses real teaching experience as your student-teaching. I think it was the best way to do it because you are forced to learn on the spot. It was very different in Harlem because of the low-socioeconomic status of the student body and their families. The also students had rough pasts which tended to explain their behavioral problems.
    • When I came to CT, I taught in Ansonia for a year, which was surprisingly similar to Harlem.
  5. What brought you to CRHS?
    • I wanted to teach in a place that I felt shared my values as a person and as a parent. I wanted to teach in a place that I would feel happy with my kids attending, which was not the case in Ansonia or Harlem. When the position here became available, I read up on CRHS and it turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. Of course, it only took me a few weeks to run the place, people recognize that I’m the person in power and ultimately all decisions are made right here at this desk. It’s not an easy job, there are a few more grey hairs, but its for the children and (as Whitney Houston said) the children are our future.
  6. What are your children’s names? ages? personalities?
    • The oldest is 5 and his name is Shepard John Maher. This year he started kindergarten and he is now taking the bus. oldest
    • The middle child, Beckett David Maher, also known as the neglected one, is 3 years old. He started preschool this year.
    • The youngest is Alden Nicholas Maher and he is 1. He started daycare this year and is attending it 3 days a week which is good for him socially.
  7. Do you have a favorite child?
    • Personally, I don’t really care for any of them. I tolerate them, change their diapers, but I don’t really talk to them. My daily favorite is whoever poops the least that day. There’s so much poop. One day I will finally live in a poop-less environment but that day isn’t here yet.
  8. What classes do you teach?
    • I teach 3 standard 10th grade classes, as well as American Studies in collaboration with Mr. Pulino. For the first time I am teaching Fantastic Lit and Theater, both senior electives.
  9. Of all the classes you teach, which one do you prefer teaching and why?
    • Well is that really a fair question…? Honestly, I enjoy the 10th grade curriculum the most because it means I can teach Shakespeare and George Orwell, both authors that I love. The thematic units are really interesting so I can bring in a lot of cool materials.
  10. Is it true that you are teaching the senior drama class? Any hints as to what play you will be performing?
    • Yes I’m teaching the theater class. I don’t really want to give away the play but… I have an idea for an adaptation of a very famous short story, and my vision for it is quite dark.
  11. What is your favorite thing about CRHS?
    • Caroline Gervais, by far the greatest person I’ve met. What else do I like? Honestly, it is very refreshing having a student body comprised of mature and likeable kids (for the most part), who really take “Habits of Mind” seriously. I have had no need for disciplinary measures because people tend to do the right thing. This may be a testament to my excellence which I can sometimes see oozing out of my pores.
  12. What is your favorite book to teach?
    • First would be any Shakespeare play… Othello would be my main choice. A second would be 1984 by George Orwell.
  13. What do you do for fun? (besides cleaning up after your kids)
    • Fun? What is fun? I haven’t experienced leisure in about 5 years… hypothetically I would enjoy staring at a wall, doing absolutely nothing… and perhaps drooling. Seriously though, I like running, being fit and among the outdoors, walking my dog and hanging out or wrestling with my kids. From time to time I do indulge on human flesh… it is not exactly moral and cannibalism is frowned upon… but it is a tasty meal and who am I to deny that (to myself)?
  14. What is your opinion on the Red Sox’s performance this year? (and the prospects for next year)
    • This is my opinion. It was a frustrating year, but we are spoiled fans and we cannot get down about a miserable year when we just won a championship. We should celebrate not lament
    • It’s an organization that has a lot of money and talent so there is no reason that they can’t pull off a worst-to-first win again. I would be shocked if they weren’t a playoff contender next season.
    • And who knows… maybe Lester will be back. The (Oakland) A’s can’t afford him and he will be a free agent at the end of this year. He’s hinted that he is not opposed to signing with them again. It would be a great deal for the Sox because they would keep the hitter they traded him for… 2 players for the price of 1.
  15. Who is your favorite author and why?
    • Choosing a favorite is hard. Outside of Shakespeare, one of my favorites is Robert Pirsig. One of his notable works is “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. I think that the philosophy he imbedded in his work was really ahead of his times.
  16. Favorite TV show/movie and why?
    • Favorite movie is too hard but for TV show I really like Louie (the comedy-drama that is written, directed, edited, produced and starred in by the stand-up comedian Louis C. K). My all-time favorites are 6 Feet Under (American Drama) and Deadwood (an American Western).
  17. What is your greatest weakness? (as a person, and as a teacher)
    • One time in 1987, I was wrong about something… I don’t know what it was but I was wrong… and it was the only time its ever been wrong… I’ve always been right ever since… maybe it was a dream.. but it may have happened… once.
    • As a teacher… I am too ambitious with what I want to get done in a period of time… I could probably manage my time better.
  18. What was your favorite activity/sport in high school?
    • I was a cross country and track runner and I thoroughly enjoyed doing that. The running, being on the team, and hanging out with the guys was great. The school plays were fun (even though they were mostly musicals… which I am not a huge fan of) and gave me my first taste of theater ultimately leading me to acting.
  19. What is your most embarrassing memory?
    • I embarass myself a lot… but the most embarrassing was in high school. I lost a bet over a football game. My team, the Giants, lost 16-13 in OT (over time) and whoever lost the bet had to get a lunch in the Cafeteria and purposely trip & fall in front of everyone else, meanwhile throwing the food up into the air. So… it was pasta day. I got my meal, walked towards the table where my friends and I sat habitually… and I threw myself on the floor, threw the plate in the air…  and the entire caf stood up and clapped for me. It was incredibly embarrassing.
  20. Why did you shave the beard?
    • From time to time I groom because it turns out it is a custom to be presentable at your workplace. So, with the tutelage of my beautiful wife, I shave. The truth is… I hate shaving with a passion. But every once in a while I do it. Typically for the first month of summer I have the “freedom beard” because I don’t have to go to work (and look “socially acceptable”).