Sir. Well seriously, the old guard and Rose O’Neal call me Robbie; everyone else uses PRob.
I knew I wanted to work at Thacher when
I went through three winters at a New England boarding school; why would anyone in his right mind want to live there?
Favorite Thacher teaching moment
Maybe when a student tore out a page of his Norton Anthology, blew his nose on it, and then threw it in the trash. When I asked him what he thought he was doing, he told me that he had already read that page. Such events restore your perspective when you are feeling you have all the answers.
Favorite job perk
An impressive, likeable, intelligent, interested group of diverse students to work with every day. I don’t look forward to the summer so much.
Since you asked me to brag, here are the professional accomplishments I'm most proud of
That I can still get 15 kids to study Shakespeare in the spring of their senior year.
When not in the classroom I can be found
Watching movies and piddling around in the garden or in the kitchen. I also try to put an hour aside every day to read.
Favorite place at Thacher
My rose garden.
Favorite place in my imagination
St. Jean Pied de Port 1985.
Favorite place on earth
Rome (non basta una vita).
Hardly anybody knows that
Increasingly, that I was the assistant head of school for over 25 years. But almost no one knows that I worked in the horse program for five years or that I and [current Spanish teacher] Molly Perry’s father coached her in girls’ varsity softball.
The book, movie, work of art, or piece of music I cannot imagine life without
The Italian Renaissance, English Romantic Poetry, Film Noir.
What I wanted to be when I grew up (when I was 10)
Was I ever actually ten years old? I don’t believe that I thought in terms of having a career or being anything at that age. My first ambition along those lines didn’t come until middle school when I thought I wanted to be either a botanist or a mathematician, although I had no real idea of what that might mean.