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Faculty Focus - October 2022

Now in her third school year at Fenwick, Midlothian, IL native Ms. Olivia Butt teaches social studies and moderates Student Council as well as the Model UN Club.
What is your educational background?

OB: I went to Bradley University [Peoria, IL] and graduated in May of 2020. I majored in history/social studies and secondary education and minored in women and gender studies. 

What did you do prior to becoming a teacher at Fenwick?

OB: While I was in college, I worked at a Catholic school in Peoria -- in their Daycare Program and I also was a teacher's aide for a preschool class. 

What are you currently reading for enjoyment?

OB: I am currently reading November 9th by Colleen Hoover. This is just one of the many Colleen Hoover books that I have read recently thanks to TikTok recommendations. 

What interests do you pursue outside of the classroom?

OB: Outside of the classroom I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, and I love traveling. I like to cook, and I also am an avid reader and gardener! 

To what teams and/or clubs did you belong as a student?

OB: When I was a student in high school [at Bremen], I was a cheerleader and a member of the Student Council. I also wrote for the school newspaper and was in the International Relations Club. In college, I was in a Cultural Exchange Club, where we hosted international students. 

Which clubs/sports/activities do you run at Fenwick?

OB: I am the head moderator of Student Council and Model UN. I also help coach girls' lacrosse and am an adult leader for Shield, our freshman mentor program. I also attend various Kairos retreats. 

What quality/characteristic marks a Fenwick student?

OB: Fenwick students are very multifaceted -- so often, so many of our students are involved in numerous clubs, athletics and other out-of-school activities. Not only are they involved in various different activities, but they are so often high achieving within the things they are involved in. Our students constantly strive for excellence in all areas. 

When did you decide to become a teacher, and why did you choose this field?

OB: I always knew that I wanted to work in a school with kids. I have multiple family members that are teachers, so I grew up around teachers and I personally always loved school. I have always said that I love to continuously learn new things. I ultimately decided that being a teacher would be a good profession for me because I could teach a subject that I love and help make an impact in students' lives.

What personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your teaching?

OB: I am naturally a very outgoing person, and I always try to bring a positive mindset into the classroom. With that I actively try to create an engaging classroom environment by connecting with my students. I am a very understanding person, and I use that to help my teaching -- all students are unique and bring different interests into the classroom, and it is my job as a teacher to meet the needs and wants of students to help them not only be successful, but also be engaged learners. 

What are your favorite classes to teach?

OB: I choose social studies as my subject matter because I truly love all of the different content of classes within the subject -- from history to psychology, and everything in between. I think there are so many great things to learn from this subject. However, I believe my favorite class to teach is sociology because it incorporates all of the different subsets of social studies into one: You look at history, culture and human behavior and how all of those things work together to create the society we live in today. 

What is the greatest success you have had in teaching?

OB: The greatest successes in teaching that I have had all revolve around the students. It is so rewarding as a teacher to see a student who may not love the content of my class, or may be struggling, yet is able to find positive moments in the class and get engaged with the content. I also truly love when I have students that come to me for help -- whether it's about my class content or helping them with tech problems or finding their counselor's office. It is a great thing to see that students will know that I am here to help them. 

What challenges face students today?

OB: The most blatant challenge that students face today revolves around mental health concerns. This is over-arching and incorporates many different things, but so often students feel societal pressure 'to do' and 'to be' so many different things. With that being said, many students may struggle with the effects of this pressure and channeling anxiety and stress into positive and productive means.
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