Pascual Mystery

Uncovering the teaching “mystery” of Michael Pascual


Amanda Zou

Mr. P merges his love for comics with his passion for teaching.

For most people, comics, superheroes and video games define the ultimate childhood experience. For religion teacher Michael Pascual, they are the reason for his existence.

Pascual’s love for media and the arts goes beyond Batman and Robin. Although his affinity for the beloved superhero characters traces back to his childhood, he has never parted from the classics even as an adult.

“Back in the ’90s, I loved X-Men the cartoon because of how a minority group was able to conquer bigotry and injustice,” Pascual said. “They were my avenue for going into comics and finding the deeper universal meaning behind the stories. It’s universe-building, and I love the fact that each character speaks about the human condition.”

Pascual has found ways to incorporate his love of comics and video games into his teaching, relating hidden messages found in the media to the material being discussed in class.

“I love looking for the deeper message in video games,” Pascual said. “Comics speak to me because they always have a deeper theme that you don’t necessarily think about, yet it’s always about the human condition. I parallel the teachings with what I see in film, and they act as an encouragement for students to master the lessons and what we’re learning in class.”

By combining his passion for the arts with his passion for teaching, Pascual is able to engage his students in the material.

“I look at a student as a genuine person and a child of God, and see the classroom as a community opposed to the typical teacher-student relationship,” Pascual said. “We are sharing this journey together in terms of learning, and I just happen to have some extra information.”

Although Pascual has only taught at SMCHS for four years, he has acquired insights that make him an exceptional teacher.

“I always find myself trying to reinvent myself to improve,” Pascual said. “I’m always reflective of how my classes go and look to see how I can build off of that. I try to avoid mistakes that I made to ultimately developed a more introspective spirituality of self-reflection.”

His past experiences helped shape him into the religion teacher we all know today as Dirty P.

“One of my first jobs out of high school was as a drum instructor,” said Pascual. “I really sucked at it but it gave me the initial experience of teaching and seeing how people interact. I recognized that the most important thing is respect. We’re all citizens of the same community, and should treat each other as we would want to be treated.”

Pascual continues to stay humble and do what he knows best every day: spread the love to all of God’s people.

“I come into this job not trying to be the popular guy or try to be loved,” Pascual said. “I come into the classroom knowing that I love everyone in the class to begin with. I’m very lucky to be in a job where I love what I do, the people I work with and the idea that I’m serving. I’m very fortunate that that’s reciprocated.”

As the “Pascual” mystery continues to unravel, the beloved teacher will never stray from comic books and superheroes for as long as he teaches.