Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Jonathan Farrell

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Jonathan Farrell’s senior photo.

By Samuel Matt, Assistant Reporter

As a Kestrel member who is new this year, I, Samuel Matt, have found that writing articles and working with the Kestrel community has been fruitful, fun, and experience-building. Therefore, I decided to interview Xavier graduate, substitute teacher, and former Kestrel member Jon Farrell on how the Xavier experience has impacted his life.

Samuel Matt: What activities other than the Kestrel were you involved in at Xavier?

Jonathan Farrell: I was involved not only with the Kestrel but also with the theater club in my senior year with Mercy. We put on two shows: The Christmas Carol and Into the Woods. I was involved in the early years of Model Congress with Mr. Royce, the highlight being going to Yale, I worked for the Xavierian Brothers at night, I was a peer minister, and I ran track.

SM: What inspired you to come back to Xavier as a substitute?

JF: Interesting question. I just finished a term with AmeriCorp, which I joined after graduating college in May, and I’ve always kept in contact with Brother Ryan. He mentioned that you (Xavier) needed some more coverage, and I want to be a teacher later on in life, and some of the most influential teachers that have helped me, ranging from Mr. Mule, Mr. Flowers, Dr. D, to Br. Ryan, have helped me to discern whether I want to teach later on.

SM: What are your opinions on how the morals that Xavier supports and fosters impact the lives of young men in college and beyond?

JF: Xavier teaches you not only how to advocate for yourself, but to advocate for others. Really, the morals that were instilled within me through Xavier’s emphasis on service led me to community service in college. It taught me how to advocate for myself to professors, and sell myself in a certain way. I kept the values that the high school placed within me, and it helped immensely when I was put to the test in college. Whenever I meet different Xavier folks, they’re always connected by this underlying respect for not only each other but for the Institution. People may feel different ways about how strict or regulated Xavier is, but at the end of the day, it does shape us to become something better.

SM: I know you mentioned earlier that you wanted to be a teacher; could you elaborate on that? What field are you looking into? 

JF: Right now I am hoping to teach English. Mr. P, Ms. Lee, and Mr. Flowers pushed me towards that field and loving teaching literature and talking to students over short stories and creative writing. I also minored in religion in college and I’m really interested in going into that area as well.

SM: If you can remember, recall one or two of your best memories from Xavier.

JF: I’m going to kind of cheat here! One of my best memories is the kind of care that teachers gave. Mr. Mule, for example-extremely caring teacher. If you tell him something, he’ll ask you about it days later and keep up with you. The teachers here really care about the students. They want to see you grow and the steps they will take to help that-I mean I used to go after school with any number of teachers, and they always made themselves available to me. I could work with them. In college, sometimes you have a professor that will work with you; sometimes he’ll say “No. My office hours are 1-2 every Tuesday of every third month. See ya.” But the teachers here always make themselves available.

SM: What is it like being a substitute teacher? Is it boring, or fulfilling?

JF: I love it. It’s funny, I always get mistaken for a student here. People give me a look when I walk up to the podium at the start of the class. I’ve been asked if I was a senior, I’ve been asked if I was a freshman, Actually, a group of seniors tried to pull my leg saying I need a hall pass to walk around! But I love it. It’s fulfilling and it’s really interesting to see the different side. It’s not seeing yourself with the students, but it’s seeing what teachers do. At the end of the day, you know, kind of like behind the scenes, it helps you to grow and develop and see how students that advocate for themselves do better on course work and tests. Seeing that kind of joy is so fulfilling.

Jonathan Farrell graduated from Xavier high school in 2016. We would like to thank him for his years of commitment at Xavier and especially for coming back full time as a substitute.