Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Guth

Mr. Guth teaches 10th grade AVID and Modern World History at Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland Public Schools. 2019-2020 was his first year teaching with a caseload of 174 students! Scroll down to read Mr. Guth’s thoughts on teaching in his Teacher Spotlight profile below.

How long have you been teaching?

This is my first year! I student-taught at Benson last year, as well, so the transition has been smooth. Before that I was working in day treatment and other alternative school settings, including completing a year of service with AmeriCorps in which the non-profit I worked for shared a space with Schoolhouse Supplies!

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was really young I wanted to play in the NBA, then in middle/high school I thought it would be really fun to make the soundtracks for movies/tv. I had always worked with youth though and that felt natural to me.

What’s the best thing about being a teacher? 

I love being able to create relationships with people and watch the students grow over the course of the year. I am a very social person so being able to interact with my students each day brings me a lot of joy. 

What accomplishment fills you with pride after your first year teaching?

As it was my first year, a big focus of mine has been organization and figuring out my systems.  Right before “distance learning” began, a few students told me how much they appreciated my organization, which made me feel very accomplished. 

What inspires you?

Recently I find myself incredibly inspired by people (especially students) who see something wrong in the world around them and take some sort of direct action to make the change they want to see. From students engaged in climate action to the large number of first-time politicians who were elected nation-wide in 2018.  

Do you have a morning ritual before to get ready for the school day?

Every morning I eat a piece of PB&J toast and drink a cup of coffee. I get to school extra early so that I can have my space all set up: Correct date on the white board, objectives written, emails answered, copies made, etc.

What was a typical school day like after COVID-19?

I still woke up early and had my usual breakfast, then I’d do the NY Times crossword puzzle.  I had a couple of periods of video class each day and then grade assignments, answer emails, plan future assignments/lessons, and attend meetings.

If you could take your students on a field trip to anywhere in the world, where would you take them?

It would be awesome to be able to take my history classes to see ancient historical sites around the world, like Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China, Egyptian Pyramids, Roman Coliseums, etc. I think my students would enjoy being able to experience places they’ve read about/seen in books.

What would your students be surprised to find out about you?

I love seeing live music and dancing! 

What are your “trapped on a desert island” books or movies?

Movies: Harold and Maude, Mean Girls, Shogun Assassin, Motorcycle Diaries

Books: The Sellout, Lovecraft Country, White Teeth, Ask the Dust

What can you cook to perfection? Are you willing to share the recipe?

Lentil Barley Stew

-2 tbsp olive oil

-1 large diced onion

-2 diced carrots

-2 stalks diced celery

-1 or 2 cloves diced garlic

-2 cups red lentils

-½ cup pearl barley

-1 ½ tsp ground cumin

-1 tsp dried parsley

-1 bayleaf

-8 cups vegetable broth

-¼ cup chopped cilantro (add stems if you want extra flavor/crunch)

-2 tbsp lemon juice

  1. Saute oil and vegetables (minus garlic and cilantro) until caramelized (7-10 mintues at medium/high heat)
  2. Add garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes
  3. Add barley, pearl, broth, spices, and cilantro. Cover and bring to a boil
  4. Remove cover, reduce heat, and let simmer for 50-60 minutes (until barley is soft)
  5. Remove from heat, discard bay leaf, add lemon juice

Can be served immediately or stored and reheated for lunches!

Read more Teacher Spotlight profiles here!