Faculty Focus

Faculty Focus: December 2020

In his fourth year at Fenwick, this Social Studies Teacher and Cicero, IL native also is a Friars' alumnus!
What is your educational background?
AW: I grew up in Cicero and attended Ascension Catholic Elementary School in Oak Park. I graduated from Fenwick in 2011, then went on to Dominican University [River Forest, IL] for my undergrad in History and Political Science, which I finished in 2015. After that I went on to National Louis University, where I earned my Masters in Secondary Education in 2017.

What did you do prior to becoming a teacher at Fenwick?
AW: I held various odd jobs like trivia host and IT support before I started at Fenwick (my first real job).

What are you currently reading for enjoyment?
AW: Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt

What interests do you pursue outside of the classroom?
AW: I like to spend time with my family and friends (during normal years), I’m big on video games, movies and TV. I also spend a lot of time reading news and political articles to try to stay on top of all the news and events happening in the world.

To what teams and/or clubs did you belong as a student?
AW: Debate Team, Tech Club, Film Club and Politics Club (no longer around)

Which clubs/sports/activities do you run at Fenwick?
AW: At Fenwick I am the head coach of the Debate Team and the Esports Team.

What quality/characteristic marks a Fenwick student?
AW: The number-one quality that marks a Fenwick student in my mind is respect.

When did you decide to become a teacher, and why did you choose this field?
AW: I decided to become a teacher when I was still a student at Fenwick, and I chose it for two main reasons. I have a deep love (obsession) with history, and I had several great history teachers at Fenwick that really influenced me there, too, including Ms. Logas, who also was my Debate Coach, Mr. Groom, the late Mr. Heldmann and Mr. McGuire [Class of 1990].

What personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your teaching?
AW: I have a very esoteric memory that helps me remember all the dates, people, events and places throughout history that most people would just forget. Also, my experience as a Fenwick debater and in Mr. Arellano’s Speech class made speaking in front of a class of students very natural to me.

What are your favorite classes to teach?
AW: Any history class I get to teach is my favorite class; but if I had to pick a favorite child, it would be U.S. history. U.S. history has always been my favorite because I am really interested in the office of the American presidency.

What is the greatest success you have had in teaching?
AW: In my eyes, it is a great success when I can get a student who initially is not interested in history to start tolerating it or even enjoy it by the end of my class.

What challenges face students today?
AW: Students still face many of the same challenges that were faced by us all, mainly growing up in this volatile world. What makes it even harder today is that students must grow up and mature in the era of the Internet, which is giving them so much exposure to so many things. Students now have all the world’s information available to them at their fingertips, which allows them to let others do the thinking or make opinions for them. Students need to spend more time on thinking about what they know and how they feel instead of letting others decide for them.
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