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Bromances and Womances: Mr. Ryan Haupt and Mr. Joseph Castagna

Talia Trackim, Editor-in-Chief

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It is often said that when it comes to any type of relationship, opposites attract. When taking a look at the famed “bromance” between math teacher Mr. Ryan Haupt and English teacher Mr. Joseph Castagna, this mantra couldn’t be any closer to the truth. When looking a bit closer, however, it is easy to see that these two teachers share everything – from a love of Star Wars, to an affinity for twitter. I sat down with these two “work-wives” to talk about what makes them tick. Here are the highlights:

 

The Spotlight: How did you two meet?

 

Mr. Castagna: I know the answer to this, but you [Mr. Haupt] probably don’t.

Mr. Haupt: How we met?

Mr. Castagna: Do you remember how we met?

Mr. Haupt: Well, from being here.

Mr. Castagna: But you don’t remember the moment we met. I had lunch duty with Greenie, and you came up and from wherever you were teaching to tour the building. And he brought you around, we exchanged a few words, and I thought, “That guy’s a straight shooter with upper management written all over him.”

Mr. Haupt: I was so overwhelmed by that whole experience that I don’t remember any of it.

Mr. Castagna: I thought, “Who was this guy that he gets a tour when he’s considering the position. Everyone else comes and they’re like “I hope I get this!” You were like “Listen, I’m not taking this job unless I know it’s for me.”

 

The Spotlight: How did your friendship develop after that?

 

Mr. Haupt: We had lunch. That wasn’t my first year here. Not even my second year here I don’t think.

Mr. Castagna: It was like four years deep.

Mr. Haupt: When [Mr. Castagna] got out of his hole and started coming to lunch and playing ping pong and we started talking, one thing led to another, and he was over at my house for dinner. He and his wife came over to my house and we had dinner and played pinochle.

 

The Spotlight: What do you two have in common? How are you different?

 

Mr. Haupt: The family is a big thing. We’re both very family guys. I think that when it comes to that, how we value our wives and our children, I think that’s a really core part of who we are and we definitely share [our families] being a big part of our lives. We’ve had conversations, just about being a father, about being a husband, and you know the impact that can have on your personal life as well as your professional life and different things that impact you.

Mr. Castagna: That’s way more profound than what I was gonna come up with. I was gonna say we’re both nerds and wimps.

Mr. Haupt: That’s also absolutely true.

Mr. Castagna: I have to hang up big pictures of me doing Spartan Races so that people think I’m tougher than I actually am. That’s the mask I wear of, like, late 20th century masculinity. If you weren’t captain of the football team, so many doors were closed to you. So I had to act like I was tougher than I was.

Mr. Haupt: I’m totally okay with not being that way at all.

Mr. Castagna: [Mr. Haupt’s] way more comfortable with it. For me I’m still trying to shed the mask. He’s also incredibly out of shape.

Mr. Haupt: Incredibly. I’m trying to get in shape so I can keep up a little bit.

 

The Spotlight: How does the English vs. math dynamic play into your relationship?

 

Mr. Haupt: It’s funny because we went to an AP training, when we both started teaching AP, and I don’t think up until that point we thought there was anything in common between the two subjects. But there definitely are approaches to teaching the content that is extremely similar.

Mr. Castagna: We’ve had conversations about the fact that he doesn’t teach math, I don’t teach English, we teach teenagers. And building that rapport is the most important thing so that ultimately kids will come to you and say things like, “You’re the only math teacher I wasn’t afraid to be wrong in front of.” That’s far more important than getting the content right.

 

The Spotlight: What are some key elements of your friendship?

 

Mr. Castagna: We’re unafraid to tell it like it is, which I think is really important. And I don’t know of a lot of friendships that make it past that point. Like the first time someone goes too far, that’s the end of the friendship. We made it past that point a long time ago. We kind of keep each other in check.

Mr. Haupt: I like that because if I’m way out of line, I like that I’m told, wait, hold up, that’s not exactly the way it needs to be.

 

The Spotlight: What are some of your favorite things to do together?

 

Mr. Castagna: Oh, well, we like going to the movies.

Mr. Haupt: But it’s not just going to the movies, it’s like hanging out before the movie, talking about it after, the whole experience.

Mr. Castagna: “Star Wars” is apparently going to release a new movie every December, so that’s kind of our thing now.

Mr. Haupt: This monthly movie thing is going to be new.

Mr. Castagna: Monthly’s kind of tough. We’ll see if we can do it.

Mr. Haupt: I enjoyed, and we haven’t done it in a while simply because you can’t be home late with kids, but when we played cards, that was a lot of fun.

Mr. Castagna: Which was weird because you [Mr. Haupt] were the only one with a kid at the time. She was like 16 months old. They put her to bed and then we played cards like we were 18.

Mr. Haupt: It was great! I also just enjoy adult conversation.

Mr. Castagna: Just going back and forth through text or twitter – we love doing that… We like predicting the weather.

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Bromances and Womances: Mr. Ryan Haupt and Mr. Joseph Castagna