by Matt Coughlin
Do everything, for you can use it all. That was the message John Doyle gave with his Career Development speech on Thursday, Oct. 12.
Doyle works during the day as a teacher at Norristown Area High School. He is also the co-producer and co-director of the Iron Age Theater. In his spare time, Doyle manages the Center Theater in Norristown as well.
As an English Department teacher, Doyle teaches 11th and 12th grade accelerated students American, British and World Literature as well as journalism.
“I started teaching because it paid my bills so I could basically do theater for the rest of my life,” Doyle said.
His duties at Norristown include advising the high school newspaper, organizing field trips to plays at the People’s Light Theater and being the computer liaison for the English department.
“I know a lot of you folks think of the high school teacher as a second choice,” Doyle told the assembly. “You’ve got to know your kids culture.I listen to their music, not that I necessarily like it, but it gives you insight,” Doyle said.
Doyle sees his involvement with the Iron Age Theater as more of an “artistic endeavor” than something he hopes will bring in money.
“If people come, good, if they don’t, they missed the chance,” Doyle said.
Doyle has a wife and two children.
“The balance of family and career is difficult [in a communications oriented career],” Doyle said.
“As they grow older, they are able to become more involved in my work,” Doyle added.
Doyle earned degrees in History and English and communications with a minor in philosophy from Cabrini, then went on to earn a master’s in theater and film at Villanova.
“I wanted to produce video film and be famous,” Doyle said.
Among his many jobs, Doyle lists a video store clerk, high school substitute, a technician at Laser Supply Company and Santa Claus for Strawbridge & Clothier.
Doyle later returned to Cabrini and spent four years as the director of residence life. While working that job, he was married and his first daughter was born. They lived in Xavier hall.
It was after this second tour at Cabrini, that Doyle started theater work and teaching at Norristown. That was eight years ago.
Doyle ran a haunted house at Eastern State Penitentiary with his partner in the Iron Age Theater.
To supplement his many jobs, Doyle has learned how to be a electrician, a carpenter, graphic design, website design, photography and advise high school students.
“Individual areas in communications can be supplemented by other things,” Doyle added.
“Learn everything you can and go to grad school,” Doyle said.
“High school kids don’t learn what you’re teaching them in the classroom.the thing I give them is the inspiration to learn,” Doyle said.
“What I am doing is what I am supposed to be doing,” Doyle said of his vocation.
“All of you people here getting a liberal arts education have a responsibility to make a difference,” Doyle said.
“The benefits of teaching at a high school like Norristown is that the kids, their souls are still innocent though they may go home and work eight hours to feed their mom, they haven’t been corrupted by an [easy life].it is wonderful stuff to work with those kids who are still innocent,” Doyle said.