Waters Today: Where did you go to junior high? How did it compare to Waters?
Ms. Aguilar: I went to Burr School in Wicker Park for 7th & 8th grade. Compared to Waters, it was a really small school. We only had one homeroom for each grade level!
You obviously have a lot of experience with the junior high crowd. If you could give struggling parents of pre-teens one piece of advice, what would it be?
Try not to take that pre-teen attitude too personally. The students are going through a lot of changes in their lives (physical, emotional, and also environmental with COVID) while also trying to understand themselves. Sometimes the people they are most comfortable releasing their frustrations to are their parents! Overall, we have really great students at Waters.
What are your thoughts on social media? It's such a polarizing topic for this age group.
I’m all for students being able to express themselves, but social media is a very tricky way of doing so. Something that is shared on social media can have long lasting effects. It’s really important for parents to talk to their children about Digital Citizenship. As a teacher, there is only so much you can say to students since a lot of social media interactions happen outside of school. There are many great resources for this. Be Internet Awesome, a digital safety program from Google, is a really good one.
Super helpful—Thank you! If you could enroll in another Waters teacher’s class for a day, whose would you choose and why?
I would really like to be in one of the first grade classrooms because I didn’t have the greatest experience in 1st grade. I love how Ms. Beza, Ms. Johnson, and Ms. Heilbrun have their rooms decorated!
And if you could have dinner with 3 people, dead or alive, who would they be?
Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and my late grandfather. Obama and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have been such influential people, and it would be great to have a conversation with them. My grandfather was my number one cheerleader growing up—he always motivated me to pursue my dreams and supported the person I was. He didn’t get to see me become a teacher and, I would just like to have the opportunity to let him know that I did it!
He would be so proud. What’s something your students would be surprised to know about you?
I did Tae Kwon Do from 7th grade into high school and really enjoyed it. Sparring matches were my favorite– I won various first place trophies and medals. I only stopped at my brown belt because I began to focus on cheerleading and became the captain. Once I finish Grad School, I plan to go back to practice Tae Kwon Do and hopefully get my black belt.
Talk about Girl Power!? Do you have any other hobbies?
While we were social distancing, I got into being a plant mom.
What about a favorite book? Movie?
I really enjoy the Harry Potter books and movies, but I thought the books were way better than the movies.
We did, too. Isn’t it always like that? If you could go anywhere in the world for an all-expenses paid vacation, where would you go?
I would love to have the opportunity to go see the Egyptian Pyramids! Architecture is something that really interests me, and I love learning about history.
Let's end on a sappy note: What do you love most about teaching?
I enjoy being able to show students that it is okay to make mistakes and there is always something we can learn from them. It’s really rewarding to see students gaining confidence in their abilities throughout the year. The “aha moment” is really fun to see when they are working towards a solution.
Love that. Thank you Ms. Aguilar!