When I Was 17: Mr. Hattori

Set the scene:

I lived in Monterey, California. I went to Robert Louis Stevenson School. The school was half-boarding and half-day, and I was a day student. It was my first private school. I grew up going to public schools for K-8.


Did you ever imagine yourself as a teacher?

Absolutely not.


What did you want to be?

At that time, I wasn’t really sure that I had a clear direction of what I wanted to be. My parents were eye doctors, so I guess there was a possibility that I could do something in that field, but I wasn’t 100% certain. The one thing I was certain about was that I would not be a high school teacher.


What was your favorite subject in high school?

I’m not sure that I had an actual favorite subject. Math was the subject that came most easily to me. I enjoyed chemistry a lot. I liked history because it allowed me to do research papers and I was able to choose what I wanted to study.


How were you involved at school?

I played a lot of sports. The main sports I played were football and lacrosse for most of my years in high school. I did track during my sophomore year where I was a high hurdler and a shot putter, which was a super strange combination of events, but it was mostly because I needed to do something in the off season. I tried out for the golf team every year and did not make it…

(Phoebe: No! That’s so sad!)

Oh, it’s totally fine. I tried out so I could play a free round of golf on spyglass.

I was also involved in the mathletics group, so I would do math competitions. I played percussion in band and piano in jazz band. The band played at football games, while the jazz band only played concerts.


First love?

I did date in high school… wasn’t in love. I dated a little bit in college… wasn’t in love either. It’s so sappy, but my first love is my wife. That’s how I actually knew that I wanted to marry her because she was the first one that I actually truly loved.


Regrets about high school?

I think there were more clubs that I would have enjoyed getting involved in and I didn’t. I would have enjoyed Model UN and it seemed like something I would have had fun with, but I also wasn’t super academic in high school so I don’t know if I would have pursued something like that.

I don’t have huge regrets about what high school looked like. Everything kind of worked out for a reason and I like the way things worked out, so it’s hard to say that I would go back and change anything.


What advice (be it academic or social) for current students at Thacher?

Really don’t care what other people think. It took me until college to understand that. In high school, I wasn’t great at it, and I wish I would have been better.


Funny story.

I was cut from a lot of sports teams. I probably got cut from more sports teams than any other faculty member on campus. I got cut from the golf team all four years. I got cut from the basketball team my freshman year and sophomore year. In fact, weirdly, I have never made a sports team that had cuts, so every single sport that I ever played did not have cuts, and every team that I tried out for that had cuts, I did not make the team.

I used to play Thacher in lacrosse, but I never won against Thacher when I was a student there. However, I went back and coached at Stevenson and I never lost to Thacher as a coach in lacrosse. And now I can’t lose to Thacher because I coach at Thacher!


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