Published May 10, 2023
BY ELLA GAILY
With 31 years of teaching experience within CUSD to his name, the impression Carmel High School English teacher Pat Robel’s character, teaching style and love of literature has left on students and staff won’t be diminished with his departure.
While the current AP English Literature and Composition and English I Honors teacher is grateful for his entire career, consisting of six years of Carmel Middle School and 25 years at CHS, he eagerly anticipates the next stage of his life.
“I love the creativity of teaching and addressing the questions of why literature is important to us today, but all of that planning to create good experiences for my students can get stressful,” reflects Robel on his decision to retire after some years of debating it.
Robel looks forward to more time with his family, working with his hands, surfing, returning to creative writing and an unstructured routine now possible with his retirement.
“I’ll miss having his voice in the English department,” English department chair Barbara McBride says, noting Robel’s wit and meaningful conversations inside and outside of the classroom. “He has this great ability to see the big picture and from multiple perspectives to rise above any petty conflict or politics.”
English teachers Dale DePalatis, Hans Schmidt, McBride and Robel all came to CHS within a few years of each other in the 1990s, making up the younger portion of an experienced staff.
“I’m going to remember the way he hops in his chair from excitement when he reads or how one time when reading Shakespeare, he used the fan and put a jacket over it as the other person in the scene!” recalls senior Athena Wilson, a student in Robel’s AP Literature class. “He’s so enthusiastic about what he does.”
Robel actually attended University of California, Santa Barbara, as a biology major before switching his major to English. Later, he became a camp counselor on Santa Catalina Island and decided to get his teaching credential after loving his work with kids.
“We have a lot of in-class discussions, and it’s really cool to see his and other people’s input on the book,” says freshman Lily Biggs, who’s in one of Robel’s English I Honors classes. “He always has so much energy and welcomes us with a smile, which I really appreciate because I have him seventh period!”
Over the years, Robel has also taught English I, English II, English II Honors and American Literature since transferring to CHS. Six years before, the educator was hired at CMS after falling in love with the area while surfing in Big Sur.
What will Patrick Robel miss most about teaching?
“I’ll miss the time after the bell rings when all of the stress goes away because it’s the time when I can just be present with my students.”