If you ask a Middletown High School student to name a teacher who can be described as “awesome; hilarious; spontaneous; entertaining; helps you understand”, chances are they will respond, “Mr. Schaut!” How do I know? Students that have been in his class enthusiastically provided the descriptions quoted when they found out he would be featured in the first installment of articles highlighting the many exceptional teachers of the Middletown Unified School District.
Mr. Richard Schaut has been a language arts teacher for almost thirty years, including twenty at our high school. He is currently teaching AP English 12, Honors English 11, Introduction to Western Philosophy, and English 9. All his classes are his favorites. His reputation as a phenomenal teacher is wide spread with the students, parents, and staff. He holds a California Clear Secondary English Credential, and earned a B.A. in American & English Literature and Creative Writing from UCLA and a Masters in Language and Consciousness Studies from CSU Dominguez Hills.
Understanding his teaching style helps unlock clues to his success as an educator. He describes his style as: “Strong, kind, and clear, with an inner calm supporting an outer intensity. I try to create a classroom community, focused on the conversation between students and teacher, using an active sense of humor, the joy of learning, mutual respect, and humility. I try to teach the students to become aware of their own learning strengths and weaknesses so that they can monitor their own learning and become responsible for it. Ideally, they become aware of when they are not learning something and know what they have to do to learn it.” Schaut also emphasizes that learning requires “patience, practice, and persistence” and “multiple opportunities to process material”.
Watch out Isaac Newton, Richard Schaut also has his own three laws, and has even added a fourth.
Schaut’s First Law: If you are not having fun, you are not doing it right
Schaut’s Second Law: Anything that can work out, will work out
Schaut’s Third Law: We control our destiny by taking responsibility for our actions
Schaut’s Fourth Law: Don’t have too many laws
District superintendent, Dr. Korby Olson states, “Each year when we interview seniors for scholarships, Mr. Schaut is often cited as the students’ most influential teacher. They say that he makes learning exciting because he is enthusiastic about teaching.”
In addition to teaching MHS students, Mr. Schaut has presented at workshops including: Reading Instruction for Academic Preparation, California Art Project, and California Reading Project. He also has had several essays and restaurant reviews published, and has written short stories, poems, and a memoir. His many hobbies include Tai Chi, bicycling, writing, hiking, swimming, and camping. Schaut also teaches Tai Chi after school at the high school and at the Tyrell Academy in the Hidden Valley Plaza.
Mr. Schaut is a teacher who loves his subject, is passionate about learning, invigorated by the process of teaching, and cares about students. He finds teaching a rewarding profession, his favorite aspects being building relationships, explaining processes, and passing on what he knows works. He is inspired by the idealism of his students and the professionalism and dedication of his colleagues. On a personal note, Richard has been happily married for 26 years; he has “a beautiful wife, two handsome sons, and four wonderful grandchildren”.