Humans of RV: Mr. Patton

RV’s newest chemistry teacher talks about his previous teaching gigs and how he loves nerding out at Penn


Tanzim Didar, Student Life Writer

The Humans of RV project is a weekly column based on Brandon Stanton’s seminal “Humans of New York” project, which seeks to “catalog the city’s inhabitants” through photography and brief interviews. RV seeks to expand on this project with our own “cataloging” of RV students and an examination into all the unique perspectives here at school. 

Note: this transcript has been edited and condensed for publication purposes.


What made me passionate about teaching was the fact that it’s the best influence I could have on the future of science.

My first twelve years of teaching were at Central High School in Philadelphia. There, I taught Chemistry, Physics, Material Science Engineering, Food Science, Culinary Chemistry and a few other elective courses. For the last three years, I was teaching Chemistry and AP Chemistry at Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees. Starting in February, I came over to RV, in which I am currently teaching Chemistry CP and Accelerated Chemistry. 

This year, my wife and I decided to fully homeschool our three children and I had the opportunity to take a little time off while the rest of the world settled down. After things settled down a little bit for me to confidently and comfortably come back out to the public, I started right away. I am excited to finally be back in the classroom and have students here with me. 

I believe that RV is taking the best, realistic opportunity to make the most of what we can do. I learned a lot while interviewing for RV, but the attitude and approach of the administration is something I like and respect. 

It’s funny how some people see one high school in their whole life, now that I have seen a few, it’s been rather interesting to see the differences, but I like the balance of what seems to be normal and the character of RV.

The students here have been inspiring, helpful, polite and respectful. I feel like we all have a good mutual understanding of each other and it’s been great to know some of the students here at RV.  

I’m sure that most if not all teachers would go back to what was normal, but the main challenge of the virtual side is the conversations. You can really have only one conversation with Google Meets. I miss getting to know our students better; their character, personality and overall just getting to know their curiosities. It’s difficult teaching hybrid and virtual students at the same time, it’s like teaching two classes at the same time.

My co-workers have been awesome, really supportive, helpful, and have been keeping me in line. Overall, everybody I met here at RV has been great. 

Surprisingly, all high schools I’ve taught in are all about the same student population, which is large compared to an average high school. However, what stands out about RV is the all different types of courses that students can get involved in and the levels given. 

I have taught every level of Chemistry, from the lowest of levels to AP, and I spend my summers nerding out at Penn, teaching a workshop with Material Sciences. I truly enjoy teaching any level, but especially if there is some willingness to learn.  

The overall attitude of RV is very positive during a difficult time, which I think speaks rather well for the school. And, for the first time in my teaching career, I have air conditioning in my classroom.