Interview Conducted by Christopher Mendoza Ali ‘24
Mr. Peter Vanderberg
“As a freshman in college I changed my major to English and, as I got further and further into the coursework, it became more interesting. I always loved reading, but now I really started to love reading, writing, and talking about it, and I just fell in love with that whole environment and thought I might want to pursue teaching.
I served in the military for four years and, during that time, I knew. In the second half of my four years in the Navy, I started to think ‘What do I want to do after the Navy?’ I realized I wanted to be a teacher. I was still reading and I had begun writing on my own. It was probably somewhere in the South Pacific on a ship where I realized that I definitely wanted to become a teacher.”
Mr. Andrew Salecker ‘12
“When I was a student at Chaminade, I was a member of the Parish Religious Education Program (PREP). Teaching weekly religious education to the kids at St. Thomas the Apostle really inspired me to pursue a degree in education when I got to college.
I was also fortunate to have had really excellent English teachers here at Chaminade, some of whom I even get to call my colleagues now.
Choosing to become an English teacher was really a no-brainer for me. I had always enjoyed reading and writing when I was a student. I was also drawn to the fact that you can always do something new in an English class—read a new book, respond to a new writing prompt, or try out a new discussion strategy. I knew I’d always be able to keep things fresh and exciting, for both my students and myself.”
Ms. Heidi Hafner
“Originally I was planning on going into a career involving biology; but, during my junior year at Kellenberg Memorial High School, my English teacher Mrs. von Schonenermarck asked if I had ever considered teaching English. I said no and, sure enough, here I am many years later. She was probably the biggest inspiration for me. I came to love literature and the life lessons that come along with it.
There’s something called the ‘Universality of Literature’: any good piece of literature has a lesson or theme that transcends space and time.
I became very attracted to that idea and decided I want to share my love of that with anyone who would listen.”