By: Sarah Goraya, Kimberly Lin, and Zuha Jaffar
On the very last day before school was cancelled and things all of a sudden changed, we got the chance to interview Mr. Mezoff and Mr. Farmer for Retrospect. We sat down with them in the atrium amongst the familiar noise of students eager to get lunch, and since none of us had them for any classes, we learned a lot.
We started by asking them a little more about their background and what they did before HB. Mr. Mezoff told us about how he taught English in Spain (how casual) while Mr. Farmer, who’s originally from the Big Island, Hawaii, surfed competitively until he went to college on the east coast and worked in publishing (also very average). Moving forward from their pasts, we asked their first impression of HB. Since Mr. Mezoff was in Spain, he had an interview on Skype where he was “blown away by the interest and joy [HB] students have in learning.” Alternatively, Mr. Farmer flew out to visit HB (it was his first time in the midwest) where he experienced a “deer-in-the-headlights” moment even though everyone was super friendly. And after spending almost a year here, we were curious to know the weirdest tradition they witnessed at HB. They both agreed that the carnival unveiling is the weirdest HB tradition they’ve witnessed (honestly I thought the same thing when I first got here, it is still one of my favorites, though). We asked them if they could describe HB fashion as well, since after attending this school for numerous years, we still couldn’t. Mr. Mezoff described HB fashion as “many brightly colored water bottles” and “loungewear” while Mr. Farmer described our fashion as “Gen-Z casual” (that is honestly a perfect way to describe it).
Because our college process has begun as juniors, we’ve all been thinking about what we want to do when we grow up. So digging deeper, we asked both what made them want to become teachers. Mr. Mezoff discussed his love of learning (for life, of course) and Mr. Farmer mentioned that he taught surf lessons when he was twelve. We also asked what they thought they’d be doing if they weren’t teachers, and Mr. Mezoff said that he’d stick to educational work through other means, perhaps Shakespeare non-profit (because of his love for Shakespeare), or really anything where he would be helping others. Mr. Farmer’s answer was quite different, as he said he would probably continue working in his previous jobs, such as an office job, or working at restaurants and cafes. His alternate dream is actually to start a small vegetarian restaurant (which Mr. Mezoff aptly named “Farmer’s Farm-to-Table”). However, we are all glad they decided to do what makes them happiest and teach, specifically English. Mr. Mezoff felt that English was “the place where [he] learned the most.” Mr. Farmer stated that he was actually originally more interested in STEM (he even studied it in college until his sophomore year) but he was “always a reader,” which pushed him toward English (believe it or not, you don’t have to have it all figured out now!). And since they’re both English teachers, we couldn’t resist asking the age-old question of what their favorite book was. Neither gave a straight answer (understandable), but Mr. Mezoff recommends “Science Preceding the Ends of the World” by Yuri Herrara and Mr. Farmer mentioned that he had been reading more “classical books” such as Anna Kerenina by Leo Tolstoy.
Unfortunately around this time, the bell rang in all its cacophonous glory and we had to stop the interview, however, we had a really fun time getting to know them. We hope this encourages you to get to know teachers you’ve never had, as their stories are always interesting.