Robert “Bobby” Matheison is a social studies instructor at Southwest Middle School, teaching sixth-graders Ancient World History. He is working alongside many teachers he had as a student, including Anne Edwards, who taught him social studies in sixth grade and whom he calls an incredible mentor as he learns to navigate what it means to be a middle school teacher. What makes his job even more special is he works with his mother, Sandy Matheison, Southwest’s front office clerk. He also has been one of the drumline instructors for the Dr. Phillips High School marching band since 2016.
What brought you to your school?
Since finishing college, I had been trying to find a teaching position in (Orange County Public Schools). I was working as a substitute teacher when I was made aware of an opening for sixth-grade Social Studies at Southwest Middle School. They were kind enough to allow me to sub for the class long-term while I acquired my temporary teaching certificate, to make sure I was a good fit. I guess they liked me, because here I am!
What do you love most about your school?
What I love most about my school is the sense of community. I attended Southwest Middle School when I was a kid, so it’s wonderful to know that the community is just as intact as it was back then. My wonderful colleagues have made me feel right at home.
What is your motivation?
My motivation is to hopefully help my sixth-graders find history more interesting than they found it before middle school. When they’re interested in something, they allow themselves to learn so much more. My goal is to foster that interest and help prepare them to be successful young men and women.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is witnessing students being proud of themselves for accomplishing things they didn’t think they could. Seeing the smile on a kid’s face when they got a higher test score than they expected is awesome.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I enjoy spending quality time with my lovely girlfriend, Kaity Gomez, and our Corgi, Brisket. I also enjoy writing music for the metal band that I’m in, as well as playing all different kinds of Star Wars video games.
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
It’s very difficult for me to pick a favorite teacher when I was in school, but I’d have to say it was Nicole Nasrallah, who is still one of the band directors at Dr. Phillips High School. I was very involved in DP’s band, and she played a massive part in cultivating my love for music, as well as teaching me what it means to be a leader. I thoroughly enjoy continuing to be her friend now that I’m on the teaching side of things!
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
For most of my childhood, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do when I grew up. It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school that I caught myself constantly wondering what I would be like as a teacher. I eventually decided to act upon those thoughts, and I’m very glad I did.
What is your favorite children’s book and why?
One of my favorite books as a kid was “The Big Orange Splot,” written and illustrated by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. I enjoyed it because of the creativity that the main character and his neighbors displayed when they all painted their houses to resemble their dreams.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies include playing drums, guitar and bass guitar. I’m the drummer in a metal band with some of my best friends. I also play drums in a worship band at my church.
If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
I’m a massive Star Wars fan, so my preferred super power would the ability to use the force. If not that, teleportation would be pretty cool!
If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
I’m a metal musician, and most of my favorite music reflects this. If I could only listen to three bands for the rest of my life, they’d be Demon Hunter, Avenged Sevenfold and Whitechapel. Those three cover all the bases for the different aspects of metal that I enjoy.
How long at your school and with OCPS?
I’ve been at Southwest Middle School and with OCPS since March of 2020. I look forward to enjoying many more years as a teacher with OCPS!