Reverbs from the ECHO Chamber — a Q & A with Mr. Keith Rapp

Jeremy Mason, Staff Reporter

Trinity teacher Mr. Keith Rapp

Another in a continuing series of Q & A interviews with Trinity faculty, staff and administrators.

History teacher Mr. Keith Rapp, raised in Fairdale, attended a small private high school called Farmdale Christian. In his 18th year teaching at Trinity and his 27th year teaching overall, he spoke about how much he truly loves being a teacher.

Q: Why are you a teacher?

A: Because the people that had the biggest impact on my life are teachers, and I wanted to be like them.

Q: Who at Trinity has been the biggest influence on you?

A: Well, professionally, Andrew Coverdale; personally, Joe Henning.

Q: Why did you come to Trinity?

A: Well, to be honest, job security. I was teaching at the DeSales High School at the time, and I loved it. I love everything about Catholic education, but DeSales at the time (had questions about staying open). I just had my first child, and really you can’t raise a child wondering if you’re going to have a salary next year or not, so an opportunity to come to Trinity opened up.

Q: Can you explain your approach to teaching?

A: I do something called a flipped classroom. The basic premise behind a flipped classroom is that rather than getting the information in class, students get the information at home, and then that leaves class time to process it and do something with it. Instead of me spending class time lecturing and them writing down notes in class, they listen to a recorded lecture at home and take their notes. That leaves class time for us to do something with the information.

Q: How long does it take to make a video for students?

A: Usually if it’s a 15-minute video, it takes me probably 30 minutes to make it. I have to set up and there’s a couple of places where I’ll inevitably mess up and have to stop and back up and start again. But the beauty is once (the videos) are made, they’re made. I don’t have to go back and remake them each time.

Q: So who or what gave you the idea to do a flipped classroom?

A: I had heard a lot about flipped classrooms in the past just being a teacher at conferences, but my daughter had a math teacher in her seventh- and eighth-grade year that ran a flipped classroom. She loved it. I saw her learning a lot more than she ever learned in math before, and I thought I could take that idea and kind of run with it.

Q: Why did you choose to teach history?

A: A good question. I have always loved history. I love the fact that we can we can look back at something that happened hundreds of years ago and learn from it, to make the present day a little better, hopefully.

Q: What decade do you believe is your favorite teach?

A: Oh, the 1960s. It’s got a little bit of everything — social history, with Motown and folk and protest music; you have rock with the British invasion; you have war with Vietnam going on; you have the counterculture movement with the hippies and the protesters; you have a lot of political intrigue. It has everything in it!

Q: If you could teach anything other than history what would you teach?

A: Probably English. I taught English for a few years before I got a history job, and I enjoyed it. History is my first love, but I really liked English, so I would probably go back to that. I really like creative writing.

Q: Other than teaching, what do you believe is the most unique thing about you?

A: I am a South End boy at heart. I was born and raised in Fairdale, and I still live in Fairdale. I make the drive out here every day. I’m a South End guy until the day I die.