Teacher Profile: Mr. Joseph McDonough

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Teacher Profile: Mr. Joseph McDonough

Benjamin Lee, Campus News Reporter

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Mr. Joseph McDonough had been looking for teaching jobs in Latin and Greek. He had signed on with a placement agency for teachers, which matched him with our dear school.

So, on one beautiful morning in mid-April, McDonough came down to Kent School for the first time as a college senior. As he didn’t have a driver’s license back then, McDonough says he borrowed a friend’s car and another friend had to skip her German class to drive him to Kent. McDonough recalls “Mr. Kelly, the chair of the Classics department, couldn’t meet [him] at the parking lot so he gave [him] directions to the fourth floor of Schoolhouse.” For that, he “apologized for ‘abandoning [him] to the natives in a wild environment’.”

McDonough has taught at Kent School for 12 years, serving as a dorm resident for all of them. He teaches Latin, Greek, and Classical Civilization. If he’d chosen any other school, he says he may have “forgotten all the Greek that I’ve learned.” During McDonough’s free time, he plays the Organ at Sacred Heart Church in town. His hobbies are playing the piano, learning to play the mandolin, and running. He has also taught Ancient and Medieval History for Freshman.

He mentions having played the piano since first grade, taking formal lessons through ninth. McDonough has studied informally since then, and has a piano in his classroom on the fourth floor of Schoolhouse. McDonough has played the piano for our school’s musical nearly every spring, and can also play the organ, which he found interest in playing when on a summer trip to Austria during college days. He’s taken lessons since then to improve his skills.

McDonough manages Greek Table at Kent. Greek Table meets more or less every week, typically on Fridays. As McDonough puts it, it’s an “E block class that meets in the dining hall.” Students are free to join in whenever they like. There aren’t any strict homework or academic curriculums that apply here, so it’s very open and free to enter on a whim.

McDonough has coached girls JV Basketball and assisted coaching girls varsity basketball, as well as coaching cross country for 10 years. He currently helps with the club basketball program. Other activities McDonough manages are The Cauldron (our school’s Arts & Literature Magazine) and the Underground Astronomy Club. Asked about the possible misnomer, he commented that people like to “feel like part of an exclusive club, even though there’s nothing exclusive about being outside with a telescope… unless you got up at six in the morning to see the planets, which makes it a self-selecting activity.”

For four summers, McDonough was getting his Masters of Arts at Saint John’s College in Indianapolis, Maryland. This is the same program which Ms. Prickett is currently completing. Most recently, McDonough has been going to Greece every August for the program Living Greek in Greece. McDonough describes this as “a program where people speak Greek and live in a house on a beach for two weeks.” This summer, they’ll be putting on a play called Orestes by Euripides in ancient Greek, performing in the town Selianitika. During previous summers, he has gone to Oxford and learnt Irish in Ireland.

Mr. McDonough is a classic “Renaissance Man,” contributing to life at Kent School in myriad ways. We’re lucky he was able to find the fourth floor that day!

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