APUSH for Life: A Conversation with Mr. Baron


Zachary Farley, Staff Writer

Mr. Tim Baron is an AP United States History teacher and football coach at Santiago High School. He is well-known for his devotion to aid students on their academic journey as they strive for a “5” on the APUSH Exam, as well as his dedication to improve the Santiago football team’s performance on the field. When he isn’t answering the call to his responsibilities on campus, Mr. Baron is a husband to his wife and a father to his children. He strives to maintain his personal standard of being a living embodiment of Captain America.

Why did you decide to pursue a career as a high school teacher?

“I decided to pursue a career as a high school teacher for a couple of reasons. Number one, my high school experience was so good, that I thought what a great opportunity to come back and relive it, in a certain way. And, secondly, the teachers and coaches and mentors I dealt with were so inspiring, that I thought, if I could do something like that, it would be a significant way to live.”

Is there anything in particular, such as a historical event, or a life experience, that sparked your interest in United States history, or history in general?

“My high school football coach, who was also my history teacher for all four years, he actually inspired the love of general history and the impact of it all. So, it wasn’t really an event, but rather, a person.”

What era of American history do you find most interesting to teach?

“All of them, clearly! No, I really like 1900’s and beyond, so progressivism, all the way to current time. But I like it all, of course.”

What is your view on standardized testing, and on the College Board’s influence on education?

“Oh gosh, I hate standardized testing. I think it’s not reflective of what real capabilities are. However, I do like the fact that the College Board has influenced the standardized testing because they’ve upped the game of standardized testing for normal people, as well as APUSH students. And normal isn’t bad. I want that on the recording.”

Which environment do you prefer – the football field or the classroom?

“Definitely the classroom, because I think it’s more personal. The football field’s like a business. This is personal, that’s business. And I love anything that’s personal. Because it’s personal.”

What would you say your greatest advice would be for teachers who are new to the occupation?

“I’m going to quote something I’m looking at right now, that I absolutely love, it’s right there in green [on the whiteboard], it says “vision without execution is a delusion”. So, a lot of people come in with a game plan, and they have a vision of how they want it to work, but they don’t know exactly how to execute it, or how to get students to execute it. And that’s where they kind of go wrong. So, I always try to tell people, “have a vision, but also know how you’re going to implement the vision, so that students can understand the vision as well, so it becomes a shared vision. Then, the execution becomes shared, and then, we’re not all delusional.” They think that they’ve been educated, they have a game plan, and they’re good, but they don’t know how to execute. And that is critical.”

As for high school students, what do you think the best advice you could give them would be?

“The best advice… there are so many things I would say. Bottom line, “pressure is a privilege.” A lot of students feel like they’re stressed, they’re under pressure and the weight of expectation, and I would like to tell kids to just embrace pressure as a privilege, take it seriously, and understand that everything you’re doing isn’t about the end result. It’s more about the journey of it all. That pressure is going to lead to something. You’re privileged to have that.”

When you aren’t teaching or coaching, what do you do in your spare time?

“Meditate. Levitate. Raise my children. I enjoy sports, I love to run, running is winning. I like to think, act, and be Captain America if I can. It’s true, I aspire to be Steve Rogers, in so many ways. Even though he’s conflicted, and I like that about him. And that’s about it.”

You’re quite known around campus for being enthusiastic when you’re teaching. Are you as enthusiastic in your everyday life as you are in the classroom?

“It’s funny that you say that, because I am not, and I wish I was more of an optimist-enthusiast about life, as I am about the classroom. I tend to have a bit of a darker side, outside the room, just because I look at the reality of life, and I think “ugh”. But when I’m here, I think about the potential of life, because I see it, and I think, “oh, it’s not that bad”. And then I go home, and I’m like, “it’s that bad”. Then I come back, and I see students, and I think, “it’s not that bad, they’re going to lead the earth, we’re going to be okay”. Then I go home, and I think, “oh, it’s bad”. So, I wish I had the same enthusiasm outside [of the classroom] as I do inside. I’d also like to state that I have twenty-seven personalities, and they all get along. However, I have a situation for everything. So, there’s…

Mr. Baron: at school
Mr. Baron: teacher
Mr. Baron: dad
Mr. Baron: husband
Mr. Baron: neighbor

… and they’re all different, but they all get along, and they’re all amazing. I just wanted to get that out there. I think that’s something that should be in the article.”

Our final question: if you could select a certain event from your life, any particular thing, that had the greatest impact on your life as a whole, what would that be?

“That’s a good question, I love that question, and I’ve been asked that, kind of, before… I think I would have to say that I’ve experienced loss, and difficulties in life, that really kind of shaped me. It wasn’t the wins, or the victories in the classroom, or my accomplishments, it was actually the things that I failed to do or the things that people failed to do for me that motivated me. I had, sort of, a bad parental relationship with my own dad, and I think his failure actually motivated me more than any success that I had. Which is kind of weird, and fascinating, all at the same time.  So, I think it’s the losses that actually got me going. Whereas for some people, the losses are the things that bring them down, those are the things that rose me up… like the Phoenix.”

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