Teacher of Interest: Mrs. Wengel


Scott Olvera, Staff Writer

March’s Teacher of the Month is a fantastic art teacher that has proven to work very hard teaching her students many concepts about the world of art. Mrs. Wengel has been working at DVHS ever since it opened back in 2007. I asked her some general questions about her teaching career and why she loves what she does.

Q: What inspired you to become a teacher?

A: I became a teacher for so many reasons.  I wanted a career that would pair my passion for Visual Arts with my desire to work positively with the community.  I naturally fell into the visual arts in high school, while attending Monte Vista High  —  and had an awesome experience in their art department.  It was a second home to me, and the feeling I had when I was in that room was something I knew, instantly, that I wanted to replicate.  I loved the mental break it gave me from my other classes.  It was a stimulating and challenging environment and it forced me to think in new ways.  My desire to become an art teacher was solidified within my college studies, with a study abroad in Italy, an internship working with a professional artist in LA and in teaching community outreach arts classes.  Teaching is a wonderful and rewarding career path, and knowing that I’m positively influencing young lives makes this profession fulfilling.

Q: What is your favorite part about teaching?

A: I think my favorite part about teaching is seeing learning!  It’s most significant at the Art 1 level.  When the class starts at the beginning of the year, most of the students say, “I can’t draw ….” And then seeing them at the end of the year, when they’ve completed a series of works, they say things like: “I never knew that I could draw like this,”  “I’ve learned to see things differently” and “I wish I had taken art sooner.”  That’s the biggest reward — seeing the disbelieving students become creative and technically proficient!  They gain a whole new appreciation for the world. I love seeing my students happy, passionate, liberated and creative.  The art room is a really happy space … I always keep music playing, the tea pot hot and the students are like bees in a hive — busy, productive, and independent … I’m especially lucky to teach sequential courses, so I have the benefit of having some students all four years of their high school career.  Watching these artists grow into conceptual thinkers and well-rounded human beings is my biggest reward!

Q: What do you like least about teaching?

A: Gosh, probably that the job is never “done.”  I’m always reinventing lessons, trying new techniques, rearranging my classroom, setting up and taking down displays … it’s a lot of prep!  It’s definitely not the type of job that you just clock-out from at the end of the day and forget about.  I go home thinking about my students, how to help them, what I need to improve on and how to make the next day a success.  So needless to say, my mind is always busy!  I also dislike scrubbing paint out of the sinks and finding crusty brushes.

Q: What are some hobbies you like to do outside of school?

A: Mr. Wengel and I have a sweet little girl named Evelyn.  She’s two and a half, and we spend every waking moment with her when we’re not teaching.  We love to walk her to the park with our dog, Halia — take little day trips to the city, beach, museums, farmer’s market …  I love to garden, drink coffee and watch Evie play and explore.  I love being in open space, amongst nature, fresh air and my little family.