Teacher Profile Get to know Mr. McCulloch

Devon Wenzel, Staff Writer

How did you know you wanted to be an English teacher?

“I’ve always loved writing. I was not a big reader in high school, which is ironic. I read what I had to, but I didn’t read for pleasure, so I didn’t fall in love with learning ‘till the end of high school. I always knew, partly because my mother writes and is a huge reader so that inevitably transferred to me through her reading to [my sister and me] as kids. Although when I was younger I did [like to read], maybe it was that moment between elementary and middle, where the interest is sometimes killed in kids. I also went to a school where I learned a lot so I coasted in high school. But it was an old English schoolmaster tradition, which was not big on building up your self-esteem. I once had a teacher throw a chair at me! The chair hit me on the back.”

What are some of your favorite books/movies/TV shows?

“I used to have a lot more time to watch movies, but I do love them. Favorite movies? I love My Life As a Dog, Waking Ned Devine, which is an Irish movie. I wish I was Irish. The Irish are such good storytellers, and it seems to me that they have a culture that almost demands that you be a good storyteller. I idealize this. One of my favorite books is Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. I teach this in my [Modern Picaresque English elective] class. For TV shows, I like Peaky Blinders, Sherlock, Modern Family, and the Goldbergs. I enjoy watching shows that I can watch with my kids.”

Do you have a favorite PDS memory?

“Filming the Dracula movie last winter was definitely a series of memories, but I think the memory that probably was most fun was when [Upper School history teacher Bill] Stoltzfus, [Upper School English teacher Olivia] Rutigliano and I were at the Graduate College at Princeton University. We had a smoke machine which was really cool. We had permission to be on campus, but I don’t think they knew we were going to be using a smoke machine. We found this box that looked like a coffin and all of a sudden we looked at each other and said, ‘Does this thing open? It’ll be a coffin!’ So seeing Mr. Stoltzfus in the box with his arms crossed like he was Dracula, and me holding the lid of the coffin. Ms. Rutigliano even got in the coffin herself so you’d see the shot from Dracula’s view.”

What country would you love to visit one day?

“Spain, and Ireland. Probably Ireland first. I’ve read a lot of Irish literature and for me everyone has that lens they look through, the dorky stuff that you like. My first impression is through stories. That’s whatgetsmehookedfirst.Ialsohear Barcelona is great. I love places on the water.”