Teacher Highlights

Throughout this semester we’ve been highlighting teachers from each department by asking them some questions about their teaching careers. We asked each teacher to answer three questions, including how he/she got into teaching, what is his/her favorite part about teaching at Lincoln-Way, and what is their favorite or most embarrassing moment while teaching.

We started in the Science department, asking Dr. Baran and Mrs. Seiber for their input. Like many of the teachers we interviewed, Dr. Baran and Mrs. Seiber told us that their favorite thing about Lincoln-Way is the kids. Dr. Baran explained to us that one year, on one of the first days of school, he ripped his pants during first hour on the day of Open House night. Mrs. Seiber kept it light hearted, telling us that it is important to laugh at yourself every once and awhile. She told us that she used to need to hem her pants, but didn’t want to pay to get them professionally fixed, so she would staple them shorter, hoping none of the students would notice. One year for Christmas, a student bought her a box of staples, saying it was for her pants; she tells us she started getting them done professionally thereafter.

We then consulted the ever creative Music department, interviewing Mr. And Mrs. Jackson. Both of them also told us that their favorite part about Lincoln way is the students, and being able to watch them develop as both musicians and people throughout their years in high school. Mr. Jackson described his embarrassing moment as getting locked in the catwalk while teaching at east, and having to go onto the roof to get an administrator’s attention so he could get out. Mrs. Jackson recounts a moment in which a coworker took her by surprise while she was enjoying a bowl of yogurt, dropping it and having it spray her nice outfit. (She had to wear an ensemble gown the rest of the day.)

Afterwards, we found ourselves in the English department, spending some time with Mrs. Yanule and Mrs. Rogina. Both of them knew they were going to be teachers from a very young age, and even similarly described playing school with family and friends as children whenever they could. Likewise, the students and faculty reign as the leading reason to love Lincoln-Way. Mrs. Yanule describes her favorite moment of teaching being her end-of-the-year collage video, which includes pictures she’s taken throughout the school year. Mrs. Rogina, then, tells us about having students exclaim in class that she taught their parents, although she says it doesn’t bother her much anymore, and says it is always nice to see past students come in to parent teacher conferences as parents of current students.

We traversed to the athletic department, asking Mr. Young and Mr. Fahey some questions as well. Mr. Young told us that his experience at NIU allowed him to really want to get into coaching (as he currently coaches here at Lincoln-Way), and, like many teachers, looks at the students as the best part of his experience. Mr. Fahey says that his family is full of teachers, and that he had great teachers growing up (attending Lincoln-Way himself). A variation of the typical answers, Mr. Fahey tells us that the atmosphere of Central and the incredible community and P.E. department are what makes his experience at Lincoln-Way so wonderful. Mr. Young describes his embarrassing moment at North; while demonstrating a squat for an HP class, he ripped his pants. Fahey, then, tells us about his favorite moment; walking in on the first day of his job here and knowing it was home. (Although he joked that being in this feature was his favorite moment!)

Later we spoke to a few Foreign Language teachers, including Mrs. Kravish, Mr. Maher, and Mr. Raatjes. Mrs. Kravish first told us that she got into teaching because of educational classes she took in college. Mr. Maher told us that he always enjoyed helping his fellow students with their homework and knew he wanted to continue with it into his career. Mr. Raatjes then told us that his art teacher inspired him to become a teacher later in life. They all comment on the amazing students and faculty at Lincoln-Way as being their favorite part of the experience. Mrs. Kravish describes her favorite teaching moment as when a student wrote her a thank you note for Christmas to express appreciation for helping her to better learn Spanish – it made her realize how incredible her job is. Mr. Maher tells us of when the lid of his coffee failed him and spilled all down his shirt, and Mr. Raatjes tells the relatable tale of tripping over a projector wire during class.

In the ever popular Social Science department, we talked to Mr. Hopper and Mr. Finnegan. Mr. Hopper tells us that his family was full of teachers and guidance counselors, so he was predisposed to the idea of teaching, while Mr. Finnegan tells that that he really wanted to do something meaningful with his life. Mr hopper and Mr. Finnegan both explain that being able to work with such wonderful students, sharing their success and failure, and with such amazing faculty, makes the experience at Lincoln-Way so much better. When asked of their most embarrassing moments, Mr. Hopper tells of tripping over a cord for the blinds and hurting his ankle in class, while Mr. Finnegan explains that he accidentally paused a movie at a risqué part, and couldn’t find the button to undo the misfortune.

In the Math wing, we asked Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Bianchi to give us some answers to our questions. Mrs. Brown tells us that she always liked kids and knew she wanted to be a teacher early on, while Mrs. Bianchi didn’t get into teaching until after her own children were in preschool, attending a college five minutes from her home. Both describe the atmosphere and students of Lincoln-Way as their favorite parts. Mrs. Brown says that her most embarrassing moment is slipping in the hallway and spilling her coffee all over the place, and Mrs. Bianchi tells us that she was backing up and tripped and fell in the middle of class early in the year.

Then we found ourselves in the Reading department, interviewing Ms. Sulkowski and Mrs. Anastasia. Ms. Sulkowski explains that her high school Psychology teacher told her that she would make an excellent teacher, and it inspired her to take the advice to heart. Mrs. Anastasia thanks Mrs. Davy for getting the idea of teaching into her head while she attended Lincoln-Way. Both attribute the incredible students that they are able to work with, and the sense of togetherness that the school has to offer to everyone. Ms. Sulkowski tells us that her first year of teaching she brought her kids down to the auditorium for an assembly that wasn’t supposed to be until the following day, and Mrs. Anastasia tells us that her favorite moment is when she gets to see past students and hear them talk about how they still use lessons she taught them outside of reading.

We finally ended our interviews with Dr. Provis, the man who makes all of this possible. He describes to us that his time at Lincoln-Way is what made him want to come back as an administrator for the school he loves so much. He tells us that every day is special because it’s always different from the last, and it makes him so proud to work with such astounding young adults. He mentioned later – in a follow up interview because he wanted to think of a good embarrassing moment to be featured – that he once fell asleep while working on a new house and when he woke up, he thought it was morning, and started driving to work thinking he would be late, when in fact only about an hour or so had passed, and he realized his mistake half way to work.

We thank every teacher, both the ones who were gracious enough to participate in this article, and the other teachers who still make a difference in the Lincoln-Way community, for their hard work and dedication to making the student’s lives so much better, and for truly caring and committing to making this world a better place.