Waters Today: We’ll start with a two-in-one: What's the best thing about teaching, and what’s the most challenging?
Mr. Wall: The best thing about teaching is being able to work with young kids. Kids help keep my job fun and interesting each day. A challenge about teaching is patience; you have to be very patient and accept that all students work at their own pace.
If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?
For a long time I wanted to be a professional skateboarder! If I didn't teach I think I would still work in a field with children, either education policy or a nonprofit that supports children and families.
Where did you grow up? How did your elementary school experience compare to that of our Waters kiddos? (Pandemic aside, of course.)
I grew up in Northern VA, about 20 miles west of Washington, D.C. I grew up in a great community with an awesome education system. I think my school experience was similar to Waters because I had great teachers and a very supportive community, with lots of kids my age and things to do.
What's something your students would be surprised to know about you?
I think my students would be surprised to know that I was a state championship qualifying hurdler in high school and I used to have hair grown out to my shoulders.
You and Mr. Raman! Let’s go deep: Is there anything you're really super afraid of?
Yes—I am pretty scared to fly in small planes, but I actually flew in a 4 person plane recently!
So if NASA called and asked if you'd be the teacher-in-space on the next mission to Mars, would you do it?
Definitely not! A mission to Mars is a one way trip. It would be super cool to go into space. I would enjoy just a little floating around and then back down to Mother Earth.
Now for the question every second grader wants to know: Into which Hogwarts house would you be sorted?
I pretended that I was a member of Gryffindor when I was younger, so definitely that.
Besides Hogwarts, what's your happy place?
A little peninsula in southern Maryland called Camp St. Charles. I went to camp there every year from age 8-18. I worked there as a counselor, and as an adult I worked there as the assistant camp director. It’s very special to me.
When your students look back on 2020, what do you hope they'll remember about you and your class?
I hope that they remember that they can be successful in any situation, even in a year as wild as 2020!
Wild, indeed. Thanks, Mr. Wall!