Inspiring student teacher takes atypical route to teaching


Bethel Park School District

Mr. Teeple smiles for his ID badge. Mr. Teeple is Mr. Bellini’s student teacher.

Teachers are very special people who dedicate themselves to learners. It takes hard work to be a teacher, including being patient and kind, all while trying to entertain a full class of students.

The process of becoming a teacher includes observing a teacher, and even getting the chance to teach that teacher’s students. It’s a great way to learn about your future and get the feel for teaching.

Mr. Teeple is currently doing his student teaching with Mr. Bellini.

Every day I am inspired by the students of Mr. Bellini’s English 9 and Honors 11 classes.  They are fearless, they are incredibly kind to one another, and they work very, very hard.  I have no doubt that they are representative of the entire student population. Bethel Park is the real deal because of its students.

— Mr. Teeple

Mr. Bellini teaches English 9 and Honors 11 English.

Mr. Teeple is ready and excited to take on any challenges that may come his way.

Let’s get to know Mr. Teeple!

Mr. Teeple grew up in Pittsburgh, specifically Mt. Lebanon. He moved his life to The Big Apple to pursue a career, but after twelve years in New York, Mr. Teeple claims, “Home for me is the South Hills.”

He is beyond excited to be back to where it all started for him.

He is attending school at Duquesne University and is a candidate for a Master of Arts and Technology (MAT). 

English has always been his dream subject to teach.

“While I have no plans to seek out any other professional opportunities or teaching concentrations, I will always be looking for ways to incorporate ideas from a wide variety of disciplines into my English classes,” Mr. Teeple said.

Mr. Teeple received his undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University, “which was a challenge in and of itself,” he said when asked what his biggest college challenge was.

He went on to say: “If I had a time machine, I would go back to my senior year of high school and take AP Calculus rather than mailing it in.  The poker nights, hacky sack sessions, and endless games of Mario Kart were great and all; however, the C and D letter grades I ended up earning in my college calculus classes quickly hung an albatross around my future career prospects.”

Mr. Teeple needed a 3.5 GPA to even get an interview at Citigroup where he hoped to start his Wall Street career.

He then decided that he needed to get his act together and get his grades in line.

“I spent the remainder of my college experience digging out of a hole of my own creation.  It was a humbling and enlightening experience.”

Mr. Teeple has learned from his past experiences and is beyond excited about his teaching journey.

When asked what he is most excited about when it comes to teaching, he said: “I get very excited at the prospect of getting other people excited.  One of my former colleagues once referred to me as the ambassador of hype.  I thought it was a compliment at the time.”

Currently, Mr. Teeple is taking over Mr. Bellini’s 9th-grade classes; next, he will be taking over his 11th-grade honors classes as well.

With a major career change, comes challenges along the way. 

“Striking a balance between romanticism and realism has been my biggest challenge,” Mr. Teeple said.

“Everything about teaching is new to me, so I’m already operating at a mid-life crisis-induced, abnormally emotional state,” he said. “I have to be cognizant of my beginner’s skew to romanticism, for my students won’t want to feel like they are playing the part in a low-budget version of ‘Dead Poets Society.’  Taking that allusion one step further, I note that Robin Williams’s character’s favorite word in that movie, yawp, defined as a cry or yelp, can just as easily be mistaken for a cry for help.”

Mr. Teeple was asked who inspired him to become a teacher. 

“I can’t readily point to what inspired me to be a teacher, but I can easily point to whom,” he said. “Throughout my life, I’ve met so many awesome teachers, inside and outside of school.  I won’t list them all, but I will mention the very last person on my list, Mr. Michael Bellini.  Mr. Bellini, if you read this, please keep in mind that my list is in chronological order.”

Mr. Teeple also expresses how much the students inspire him.

“This seems like a perfect time to give a shout-out to the students, and I’ll happily take the bait.  Every day I am inspired by the students of Mr. Bellini’s English 9 and Honors 11 classes.  They are fearless, they are incredibly kind to one another, and they work very, very hard.  I have no doubt that they are representative of the entire student population. Bethel Park is the real deal because of its students,” Mr. Teeple said.

Tessa Ferris, a junior in Mr. Bellini’s ninth-period class said, “I think Mr. Teeple is going to be a great teacher, who takes a different approach to teaching that uses the students’ input and ideas.”

“Mr. Teeple brings a refreshing style of teaching to the classroom with an exciting and friendly attitude. I love the atmosphere he creates!” said Zane Antonich, a junior in Mr. Bellini’s first period.

Amber Kuss, one of Mr. Bellini’s honors students said, “He is such a great teacher and he knows how to keep us engaged and entertained in class.”

“Mr. Teeple is very outgoing and will be successful in the future with his teaching career,” Ana Winowich said, who is in his 5th-period class.

Mr. Teeple as a younger man has an easy time communicating with the students and understanding us. He is a good teacher who is honest and takes time to make class enjoyable while teaching. As much as a proficient teacher, Mr. Teeple enjoys talking with the students and creating friendly relationships with them.

— Julia Lepri

Griffin O’Connell, a junior, said, “His teaching is engaging and he is very personable.”

“I think Mr. Teeple is a really good student teacher and his teaching method is really effective. He knows how to teach with being able to keep our attention,” Nivea Donati said.

Mr. Bellini said, “Mr. Teeple brings his extensive life experience to the classroom, which enhances the creativity of his lessons and his interactions with students.”

A fun fact about Mr. Teeple is his favorite author is Joesph Heller, who wrote “Catch-22.”