Mount Monday Profile – Faculty Member Rob DeCarlo
Meet Rob DeCarlo, English teacher at MSDA. He currently teaches Sophomore English II Honors, Senior English IV, and English IV Honors. Read about his two passions, reading and running, his philosophy that there’s always something to learn and always someone you can learn from, and what he uses in teaching to help students in their development as thinkers.
As a child, English teacher Rob DeCarlo was an avid reader – his summers were spent completing reading challenges at the local library. Although he began his undergraduate studies in Spanish, he found his major in English. After college, he was offered a position teaching World Literature and coaching track & field at Don Bosco Prep, and fortunately, his two passions – reading and running/coaching – took over from there!
Seeing the a-ha moments
Mr. DeCarlos’s favorite part of the job is when a student makes a real and personal connection to or has an eye-opening realization about a reading. He shares that “seeing the ‘a-ha’ moment live and in person and watching the student grow — this is why I do what I do!” He teaches and incorporates a special philosophy unit into his lessons because he believes that showing young people how to think, and seeing how great minds have come to better understand themselves and the world around them, is essential to their development as thinkers.
Listen carefully to everyone’s story
Mr. DeCarlo’s advice to students here at the Mount is to take advantage of the depth and breadth of knowledge and wisdom teachers and peers bring to the community. There is always something to learn and always someone you can learn from. Take the time to broaden your knowledge base at any and all opportunities – even if just through a good conversation. His second piece of advice is that God gives us two eyes, two ears, and only one mouth! Look carefully at every situation and listen carefully to everyone’s story – if you must speak, ask questions first and listen carefully to the responses. Finally, his last piece of advice is borrowed from the band Dashboard Confessional, “There’s still a kid somewhere that needs to hear this: Somebody cares; somebody knows who’s tired of bleeding and battered and being torn up…just pick yourself up, it’s time to go!” If you’re hurting, someone can help. If you’re happy, help someone who isn’t. Let that friend, that kid, that girl who might not be having the best day know that you’ve had bad days, too, and help make the day a little better!
Running, “Dashboard” music, books, and the beach
Rob and his wife run. A lot! When they aren’t teaching, coaching or sleeping, they are running. They travel for a few races a year, combining competing with vacationing and sometimes just using runs together to multitask – quality time spent together after a busy day where they talk without worrying about technology or other stresses and just let go while also staying fit and active. He also LOVES music and is rarely without good tunes (including Dashboard Confessional) – in the car, in his classroom, at home – and finds peace in the sounds and wisdom in the words.
When asked what he’s been reading lately, Rob informs that he started three short novels over winter break – at the suggestion of his students – and he’s somewhere in the middle of all three: The Giver, The Circle, and The Alchemist.
Rob says he and his his wife are ‘beach people’ and their dream is to retire and spend their days ‘down the shore’ with an ocean view to look at and a boardwalk to run on every day!!!
His favorite movie series of all time is the Star Wars Saga – nothing else even comes close! If he had to choose a single movie to pick, it would be the Shawshank Redemption, Rocky I & Rocky IV (II, III, V and Rocky Balboa don’t count!)
Glad to be alive and living deliberately
Rob shares two favorite quotes:
“I say to mankind, be not curious about God. For I, who am curious about each, am not curious about God – I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least.” – Walt Whitman
“It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.” – Bruce Springsteen
When asked where and when in the world does he wish he could have witnessed? Rob would have been a poet in New England during the time of the Transcendentalists. A cabin in the woods near a lake in early fall, a journal and a pencil, and his thoughts — he could handle ‘Living Deliberately!’ as during that time period.