The Boyle family has made teaching at St. Joseph High School a family affair.
Mike, Gretchen and Benjamin Boyle work at the Victoria private high school with this year being Benjamin’s first in education.
Benjamin Boyle graduated from St. Joseph in 2017 and returned this year to teach math after graduating from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
“It’s another level of interaction and newfound respect and appreciation for what my parents have done and accomplished,” Benjamin Boyle said.
His mother and now colleague, Gretchen Boyle, teaches English. And his father, Mike Boyle, serves as the director of facilities.
The high school is more than a job for the Boyle trio. It’s family.
Mike Boyle has worked at St. Joseph for almost five decades. In that time, he has taught English, Spanish, world history, government and economics. It’s even where he met his wife when she started teaching at her alma mater more than three decades ago.
“I’ve basically grown up in this job,” Gretchen Boyle said.
Gretchen Boyle graduated from St. Joseph in 1982 before returning to teach her favorite subject.
Working in the same school is nothing new for the Boyle family considering Benjamin Boyle attended the high school for four years and even had both parents as teachers at one point.
Benjamin Boyle, 21, knew he wanted to be a teacher like his parents when he was a sophomore, he said.
“I saw them as teachers, and it reinforced the idea that I wanted to be a teacher,” he said.
While a student, Benjamin Boyle saw the fulfillment and passion his parents got from their jobs and he wanted that. He wanted to be a teacher.
Now, the trio live together, work together and even eat lunch together.
The hardest adjustment, he said, was calling both parents by their first names while at work. But, it’s a similar adjustment he had to make as a student in their classroom.
“It’s something I have to get used to,” he said. “It hasn’t come up too many times. It is my first instinct to call them Mom and Dad.”
Mike Boyle said Benjamin wanted to be a teacher at a young age, but he made sure the profession wasn’t forced on him.
“He was unswayed by anything we said,” Mike Boyle said. “He wanted to be a teacher, and he wanted to come back to St. Joseph.”
Mike Boyle wanted his son to know his options and remind him teaching doesn’t come with a hefty paycheck.
“He saw, as a student at St. Joseph, that what I and Gretchen were doing was a good thing, a valuable thing, a noble thing, and he wanted to be part of that,” Mike Boyle said.
It isn’t much different having Benjamin as a peer at St. Joseph because he attended the school as a student, Mike Boyle said.
“It was more complicated as a student than it is as a teacher,” Mike Boyle said. “As a teacher, he slipped right in and became one of the faculty quickly and easily.”
St. Joseph senior Priyam Bhakta, 18, has had all three Boyles as teachers.
She had Mike Boyle for Spanish class as a freshman, Gretchen Boyle for English during her sophomore through senior years, and now Benjamin Boyle for math.
“They are so intelligent,” Bhakta said. “They know everything about their (subjects).”
All three have different teaching styles, Bhakta said. Gretchen Boyle incorporates lots of discussion into her coursework. She said since having Gretchen Boyle she has grown leaps and bounds in her writing.
Mike Boyle, who the students refer to as the “older Mr. Boyle” seems strict but he is a “funny person,” who made Bhakta comfortable in making mistakes, she said.
As for Benjamin Boyle, aka the “younger Mr. Boyle,” he makes the students confident knowing he was in their shoes not too long ago, Bhakta said.
“They are passionate about teaching,” she said. “You can just tell they are meant for teaching.”
St. Joseph is like a family, and this shows, Bhakta said.
All three Boyles agree that the feeling of family isn’t limited to their immediate family but extends to everyone of their coworkers and students.
The school has such a closeness, and it’s an added bonus for Gretchen Boyle to have her family walk the halls alongside her, she said.
She said she is glad to see her son hold his own and fill in where “legendary” math teachers once taught. Benjamin Boyle has always loved math, and he makes a natural teacher.
“I’m very proud, and I’m very glad he is independent,” she said. “He is already skillful and savvy.”
Beyond her own family, the halls and classrooms are filled with alumni teaching, Gretchen Boyle said.
“It is an extended family,” she said. “The bottom line is St. Joseph is a special place.”