As many students are familiar with, physical education has been a requirement for over 100 years in schools. Here at ERHS, the situation is no different. One of this school’s renowned PE teachers is Mr. Pandullo. He has been teaching in person and throughout online school at ERHS since 2010.
Life before ERHS
Mr. Pandullo grew up in Atwater Village, and has lived in Los Angeles his entire life. He decided to become a teacher around 1994-95. “When I was growing up I felt that there were some teachers that lacked some stuff,” he says. Their lack of “the ability to build rapport with their students” was the motivating factor that led Mr. Pandullo towards the path of teaching.
As a student himself, he enjoyed many hobbies such as bike riding, skateboarding, baseball, basketball, and bowling. He also collected comic books and considered himself to be “a bit of a jock.”
Pandullo started teaching in the year 2000, at Irving Middle School. Over his teaching career, he has taught health and algebra as well as physical education.
Teaching @ The Rock
2010 is the year when Pandullo’s teaching career landed him at ERHS. He describes the importance of “getting to know what students are going through” so he can be there for them. When asked about his favorite and least favorite parts of teaching, he described his favorite thing as the “beginning of the year when everyone comes back from summer.” His least favorite thing is the end of the year, when the students leave for summer break.
Nowadays, outside of school, he occupies himself with a lot of “dad stuff” such as “laser tag, paintball stuff, anything to have fun with the kids and so forth; even painting.” He has two kids, one in 4th grade and one in 9th grade.
Now, as everyone knows, the pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench in our everyday lives, especially in the field of education. Mr. Pandullo was willing to expand on the experience for teachers over online school, and the changes that needed to be made; “it was a lot of detective work on behalf of the kids because you didn’t know what was going on.” As Mr. Pandullo had previously stated, building a rapport with students is one of the most important aspects of being a teacher, and online school made that especially difficult. “It wasn’t easy [for anyone],” he says.
And although online teaching is over–hopefully for good–certain tools that were learned over the time we spent on Zoom have carried over into in-person lessons. It’s important to have “a finger on the pulse” of what’s going on with students, and online teaching helped to deepen understanding of how important this is when working with students.
And in conclusion…
Pandullo highly encourages everyone to “have a plan B in life, have a plan C, because life will take you different places over time.” So, be prepared to change and to adapt. Pandullo, prior to becoming a teacher, had aspired to be an athlete or an actor.
And in closing, Mr. Pandullo provides us with a few words of encouragement for the future: “You hope you make a difference. You hope that someday when you’re at an epiphany moment in your life, you’re like ‘yeah, this is the right thing to do.’”