This month, we sat down with Mr. Philip to learn a little more about his amazing experience in a Benedictine Monastery in Tanzania, as well as how he came to be a teacher at Escuela de Guadalupe. Read on to learn more!
Where are you originally from?
I am originally from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, which is about five minutes from St. Paul. I spent the first 22 years of my life there, before spending 10 months in a Benedictine Monastery in Tanzania. While I was in the Monastery I would wake up at 6AM every morning to go to Mass. After breakfast, I would go to work, which was teaching, working at the printing press, and helping out at the orphanage. Some days I would go to noon prayer and then lunch at 1PM. I would work for a few more hours and then go play soccer with the local men in the evening. We washed all of our clothes by hand and had limited electricity. We lived an hour away from the nearest town, and a 14 hour bus ride to the nearest airport. During my time in Africa I also had the opportunity to travel. I saw Victoria Falls in Zambia and white water rafted in the Zambezi River. I went to the Rwandan Genocide Memorial Museum in Kigali, Rwanda. In South Africa, I went to Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Overall, the ten months was a powerful time of personal and spiritual growth. Tanzania is a place I hope to return to in the future.
What was your dream job when you were in elementary school?
Growing up, I wanted to be a professional soccer player. My favorite team growing up was Barcelona. Since I was a goalkeeper when I was younger, my favorite player was, and still is, Tim Howard. Before Tim Howard, I really enjoyed watching the Italian keeper, Gianluigi Buffon. But the first time I thought about teaching Math was when I was sitting in my 8th grade Geometry class. The teacher was passionate and enjoyed working with the students.
What did you study in college?
I studied Math and Exercise Sports Science at Saint John's University.
When/why did you join the Escuela de Guadalupe team?
I joined the Escuela de Guadalupe team in August of 2017 as part of a Masters program through Notre Dame called Alliance for Catholic Education.
What is your favorite part of teaching?
I teach Math and Science in the middle school. I love teaching about equations. They're like a puzzle with specific rules on how to solve them. Each year we learn a few more rules and they become more difficult, and it's cool to see the students make connections and figure out the different pieces to this big puzzle of equations. My favorite part about teaching is seeing the students' faces when they finally understand a concept after working hard for a long time. I love it when they start asking questions to better understand the material we are working on.
What do you do for fun on the weekends?
On the weekends I play soccer, go hiking or go skiing in the mountains. Overall, I've adjusted pretty well to Denver. Both here and in Minnesota, many people spend time outdoors doing various activities. The main difference is that people here go to the mountains and people in Minnesota go the the lake. There are over 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, but not many here.