Latin Departures

Jared Levin & Lindsey Bell Editorials Editor & Co-Features Editor With so many amazing teachers, who we’ve all come to love, leaving, The Forum has decided to give you exclusive interviews with Ms. Hoagland, Mrs. Zeller, Ms. Arreola, Mrs. Shi, Mrs. Wangerin, Mr. Chopra, and Mr. Firke. Earlier in the year, we did an exclusive article on Mrs. Kritzberg. Feel free to check it out on our website: Also, an interview with Dean Hogan is also in this issue under a separate article. 1. What got you interested in teaching? Ms. Hoagland: My mother was a math teacher, my grandmother was an English teacher and my uncle was a music teacher.  I think teaching was in my blood.  I discovered in 7th grade that I liked giving speeches, and felt comfortable in front of my classmates.  Later, when I was in high school, I really discovered that I liked math.  By the end of my senior year, I had decided to major in math education and went straight to Penn State as an education major. Mrs. Zeller: My parents are both college professors.  It definitely rubbed off.  When I was a young kid, I would teach lessons in my bedroom to my stuffed animals.  In middle and high school I tutored a lot, and in college I worked with America Reads.  These experiences convinced me that I had to teach. Ms. Arreola: I was always one of those kids that from a young age just kind of knew what I wanted to do. I was lucky enough to have some really fun, caring, and wonderful teachers when I was in elementary school that got me hooked on learning. It was my second grade bilingual teacher, Miss Hayes, that sealed the deal for me. After having been in her class, I knew without a doubt I wanted to be a teacher. I didn’t realize I wanted to be a Spanish teacher until after college. Mrs. Shi: It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason. I guess I just like being at a school. It keeps your brain young. Mrs. Wangerin: When I was an undergrad at Ripon College, I had some really great teachers. That was the first time I thought, “Wow, how fun would that be!” I then had the opportunity as a senior in college to lecture in some freshman seminars, and then when I was a graduate student at Indiana University I taught in the history and religious studies departments. And loved it! Mr. Chopra: I was an engineer looking for oil for a very large oil company. After traveling to India to see my grandmother, I realized that I was searching for a commodity that was already so cheap in America, compared to other places in the world and that we were wasting it…. why was I working so hard to find something we were already wasting? So, I thought the problem wasn’t about having enough, the problem was using it properly, what we have, etc. I realized it was about education. Mr. Firke: I got interested in teaching because I enjoyed working as a tutor for the Upward Bound program and as a teaching assistant in college. It probably didn’t hurt that my mom was a teacher for forty years. 2. How long have you been teaching at Latin? Ms. Hoagland: This is my ninth year at Latin.  Prior to Latin I taught at Solebury School in New Hope, PA and in an American School in Caracas, Venezuela. Mrs. Zeller: I have been at Latin for 3 years. Ms. Arreola: I have been at Latin since 2007…so 3 years Mrs. Shi: 3 years Mrs. Wangerin: 3 years Mr. Chopra: 13 great years Mr. Firke: I’ve been at Latin for five years, and the time has really flown by. 3. What positions have you held/ hold at Latin? Ms. Hoagland: I have been a math teacher my entire 9 years at Latin.  This past year I was also the 10th grade class dean and Project Week Coordinator. Mrs. Zeller: I teach AP Psychology, English 10, and English electives. Ms. Arreola: I have taught Spanish 1 and 2. The girls JV basketball head coach, Varsity basketball girls assistant coach, and Varsity assistant coach for the track team. I have also been an advisor to the BEST advisory EVER!! I have been a counselor, care taker, and whip cracker for many of my students…umhmm you know who you are! Mrs. Shi: Middle and upper school Chinese teacher. Mrs. Wangerin: Upper School History faculty. Mr. Chopra: 6th and 8th grade science teacher; chemistry, physics and astronomy US Teacher, APC for Juniors, Head of Faculty Council Mr. Firke: I’ve been the Head of School, and for three years I was able to teach a section of Latin, too. 4. What have been some of your favorite memories or events at Latin? Ms. Hoagland: One of my favorite memories of Latin is when I coached Middle School girl’s basketball.  It was so much fun to teach basketball skills to young girls, some of whom had never dribbled a basketball before! I also really enjoyed organizing the Illinois Math League Contests for the past 8 years.  It was great to see different levels of math students take these contests, which are offered six times a year.  Fear not!  Although I may be leaving Latin, Ms. Warren will be taking over the role of organizing the math league contests.  It would be great if every student in the school would take at least one math league contest before they graduate.  The sooner the better – you may find out you have a knack for solving contest questions.  I encourage you all to try! My favorite Project Week: Spelunking with Ms. Alexander (I mean Mrs. Bonneau) at Monmouth Cave National Park – talk about a life memory!!!  But taking an entire group of girls to Utah to work at Best Friends Animal Shelter with Ms. Gonzalez is a very close second, and going to Montana with Mr. O’Toole can never be forgotten! Finally, I have always enjoyed getting to know my students.  From the first day of class, to the last day of school, it truly amazes me how much you all grow both physically and mentally over the school year.  I am continually impressed by how much material my students are capable of learning, and how they bring joy into my classroom, and seem to truly enjoy learning.  Although you may like to complain about homework, or that “too hard test”, you don’t give up, you learn what you can, and you make me want to be a better teacher.  Before I finish, I must say that I have loved my advisees, both past and present, and I’m sorry that I will not be here for David Carlson’s, Jessica Andruzzi’s and Helen Lyon’s senior year.  I’m sure they will do me proud! Mrs. Zeller: I fondly remember my first day.  The students made me feel so welcomed.  Lily Donnellon even made a sign for me.  I love all performances in the theatre.  The students here are so talented.  I have loved my Project Week experiences.  They have all been unique experiences I never would have had otherwise.  I’ve also really loved chaperoning dances…I know, call me crazy. Ms. Arreola: Lets see there are many…for sure the sports I coach. Watching both the girls basketball teams be successful was definitely rewarding. I was just happy to be a witness to all of their hard work and glory. Same goes for track, watching the runners come through the finish line dead tired while having improved their times was fantastic. The seasons are always different but always a good time. I would also say the one dance, Winter Ball, I chaperoned was interesting. I picked up some new dance moves you know? Oh yeah, I will always remember the time I went to Little Village with a group of boys for a class project. Mrs. Shi: Taking my students to Chinatown. I don’t get to take all of them every year, but I tried. Really, ???. Mrs. Wangerin: Cookie decorating with my advisees, Devil in the White City P-Week, Arabic calligraphy in Global Cities. Mr. Chopra: Oh my gosh… so many… I’m going to miss a few but here goes… 6th grade project week with Mr. Canright and Ms Donovan… the big chair… Science Olympiad with Mr. Hybel, Mr. Swift, Ms. Villegas and Ms. Manning… 8th grade retreats with Mr. Hartigan… The Leonids with Mina… The Big Man with Wiles and Danny G… getting ‘the look’ from Ms. Houck… the encouragement I always got from Ms. Sampey and Ms. Dorer-Fitzpatrick… the gentle voice and handshake of Mr. Dolezol and Ms. Kelly… conversations with Nick, Ms. Holloway, Andjela and Nicolleta, Mr. Phipps, Mr. Choi and Mr Coberly… ISP’s where I learned as much as Lina, Catie and Clayton… Antigone… a small bird and Ms Hardigan… Yoga in a big circle with the ninth graders… New Mexico Skies with David and Chris and so many others… laughing so hard I fall out of my seat… new friends like Audrey and Ms Seymour… being so ready to come back to school, my ‘blood was on fire’… Mr. Firke: Lots of good memories–the girls soccer team coming back from a 2-0 deficit to win the state championship, Miriam Rivera’s speech at this year’s Scholarship Dinner, the opening of the middle school building, reading stories to the JK classes, and the list could go on and on. 5. Why are you leaving Latin? Mrs. Zeller: I am leaving because my husband was offered a tenure track teaching job in the architecture department at Kansas State University.  It was a really hard decision for my family, but in the long run, I think it’s going to be the best choice for us.  Right now, though, it’s really hard to think about leaving…. Ms. Arreola: I am leaving Latin to get a Masters degree in Spanish Lit and lingustics from Middlebury College. I’ll spend 6 weeks this summer at Middlebury then move to Madrid, Spain for a year to finish my studies there. I’m very excited but also sad to go.  Mrs. Shi: As much as my husband and I enjoyed Chicago, we are planning to move closer to our parents and start a family. Mrs. Wangerin: To pursue a PhD at the University of Wisconsin. Mr. Chopra: I am getting old and I want to return to the west… the mountains… the geology, the earth that inspires me… closer to my family Mr. Firke: It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Latin, but it is just the right time in my life to try something new, and it is the right time for my family to move back to the east coast. 6. What are your plans for the future?

    Ms. Arreola: My plans? Well according to my female students I will find my husband abroad and might not comeback. Hahaha However, realistically I’m just looking forward to Spain, finishing my degree, then who knows. I’m not sure of my options, yet, but I definitely will be back in Chicago teaching, maybe even at Latin….I’ll have to keep you posted. Mrs. Wangerin: Short term – intensive language study (French, German, Latin) and review of current scholarship in medieval Iberian history.  Medium term – SCHOOL!  Long term – back to teaching, once I have my degree in hand. Mr. Chopra: I would like to be in the service of understanding who we are and how we can do it with grace, till the end of my days… no different than now, just doing it in San Francisco. Mr. Firke: I’m going to take about six weeks of vacation this summer before starting as the upper school head at the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia.]]>