Humor and Humility: Mr. Hubbs

By David McDaniels

When opening my schedule freshman year I had one hope. It was built based on stories, recommendations from friends, and what my sisters had told me. The one teacher I was dying to have was Mr. Hubbs. It didn’t take too long as my first-semester first-period class, mentor, was taught by none other than Mr. Hubbs. I was not sure what made him such a desirable teacher, but I learned right away. He participated in the mentor games, was incredibly funny, and truly cared about each kid in the class. Upon seeing him in the hallway, he would greet me like a long-lost son.

So at the onset of this year, I again had just one wish when I opened my schedule (and no . . . it was not Mr. Horowitz. Although Mr. Hubbs says he is unworthy of commenting about him). Everything Mr. Hubbs did great as a mentor teacher he does even better in the English classroom. His self-deprecating humor makes even the most tedious grammar lessons amusing. In class he has this unique ability to make every student feel important and appreciated. After having been lucky enough to be in his class for two straight years, I finally got the chance to sit down and learn more about him.

The self-described “short, funny looking, middle-class, reasonably intelligent (but nothing to brag about) man” is way more than that. Mr. Hubbs grew up in Rockland county – right here in New York. He treats the front of his classroom like a stage. As a matter of fact, he has always enjoyed acting. In high school, he participated in the school plays and was a theater minor in college. He majored in communications while attending Hofstra. Then he went to the Teachers College at Columbia.

Despite not always aspiring to be a teacher. he has always been greatly influenced and intrigued by English. He said, “I loved A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. It’s probably no longer my favorite, but I remember having a really memorable reading experience with it.” In terms of books we read in school he loves To Kill a Mockingbird and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He even went as far as to say that his role models are “[his] father . . . and Atticus Finch.”

Outside of school, his life revolves around his family, especially his children. He likes “to read and draw with his kids, as well as lose at various games of skill and chance.” When I asked him if he could be anyone else besides himself he declined to answer saying, “If I were anyone else in the world that would mean that I would not be the father to my children.” His favorite meal (and time of the week) is “family pizza night.” He was able to describe the meal he has in vivid detail. Here is it: “I typically order a Sicilian pie with a side of broccoli (I might throw some pepperoni on that bad boy if I’m feeling particularly wild. Don’t tell anyone). For dessert, I will sit down with a half gallon of Breyer’s Oreo Blast ice cream and not stop until I hit the bottom. I might even sprinkle some Reese’s Pieces on top. Oh yeah, it gets pretty decadent.” The way he is able to make his dinner sound so entertaining is the same way he makes comma splices and foil character lessons come to life.

Mr. Hubb’s motivation is simple. He says, “I am motivated by the weight of my job and its importance in kids’ lives.” English takes this to a whole new level for him, as he believes that “it is the subject that lends itself most readily to having meaningful conversations with kids about important things.” At Byram, he loves working with “the mix of students that makes the job so great and so unpredictable (mostly in a positive way).” He sees this in tenth grade English as he is able to balance all the skill levels of students and make the course work for each of them. His passion for the class is what brings out the passion in the students.

I also spoke to Mr. Hubbs’s former and current students and asked what they appreciated about him. Nolan Sanders, a Byram sophomore, said, “ The great thing about Mr. Hubbs is that he makes everything so clear. He is able to turn confusing topics into easy ones.” In addition, Loren McDaniels, a former student of his, said,” I remember his humor always made the class so entertaining!”

It takes one heck of a teacher to get a perfect 5/5 average with over 50 reviews on rate my teachers. It takes one heck of a man to have his one wish to “be more time in [his] day,” rather than money for the reason that you can always get more money but never more time. So when you see him in the hallway give a smile to the best portable charger salesmen on this side of the Mississippi.