Mr. Minczeski hated high school, but he wants you to love chemistry

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Nai'a Suda , Reporter

Andrew Minczeski is a first-year chemistry teacher at De Pere High School.  He spoke with the Crimson Aviator about what he likes about teaching at DPHS along with his high school and college experiences.

Q: How long have you been teaching?

A: This is going to be my fourth year.

Q: Have you taught at any previous schools?

A: Yeah, my first three years of teaching I was at Loyal (Wis.), which is like middle of nowhere and then go further in the middle of nowhere and boom, town of twelve-hundred people.  We had less than 45 in a graduating class.

Q: Why did you decide to teach at De Pere High School over other schools?

A: I actually heard really good things about De Pere.  Everyone told me it’s impossible to get in there unless you know anybody, and I didn’t know anybody so go me!  I was teaching everything at my last school, so now I’m just chemistry, which is really nice.  Focus is helpful.

Q: Have you enjoyed teaching here so far?

A: It’s been really nice. I’m from this area, so it’s closer to home.  My last school was a small town vibe where everyone seems so nice, very polite.  They seem inviting and you don’t make any friends because they’ve got a very tight-knit community.  So unless you marry someone there you’re out.

Q: How was your high school experience and did you like high school?

A: I hated high school. It was terrible.  I struggled with mental health and I slept through every class. I graduated with a .7 GPA. That means I got more D-’s than any other grade.  It was a really hard time for me.  One of the reasons I wanted to get into teaching was because I wanted to help kids like me.

Q: Did you go to college?  If so, how many years of college?

A: I kind of wasted my time for the first two years after high school and I just didn’t really do anything, trying to get my life back in order and figure things out.  I went to Fox Valley Tech and got an associate’s in electro-mechanical technology so I got to work as a technician.  Then I realized I really like this, so I got into some life coaching on the side, and I went “I bet I could put these two things together” and kind of got into teaching.

Q: Did you like college?

A: I liked college a lot more than high school.  There’s a lot more freedom in what I can learn.  It was good, and so it felt a lot more free.  Optional really works for my personality. I’m not when everything is mandatory.  If someone tells me it’s mandatory, I want to prove them wrong by not showing up.

Q: Did you always want to be a teacher when you were growing up or did you want to be something else?

A: When I was in elementary school I wanted to be a priest, but that didn’t go anywhere.  When I was in high school, I wanted to get into engineering.  We had a presentation from a chemical engineer come in and I went, “That’s what I want to do”, but I was just struggling so much that people were like, “Andrew, with your grades there’s no way you’re going to get into a four year school.” 

Q: What do you like about teaching chemistry?

A: When I got to Loyal, I had to teach everything.  What I found was that chemistry was really easy if you thought about it in terms of how electrons are moving around, and it really was just applied physics.  So, I got to use the best parts of both of those things.

Q: Do you like to mostly teach by using technology or with textbooks and other physical things?

A: I hate textbooks.  I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything from a textbook. … In my teaching I just want to try and make the material relatable – find Youtube videos that have a good explanation and find simulations and stuff like that.  I want to try and make it really presentable and tell stories with good analogies.  That’s more my style. 

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

A: I have so many.  I’m just a busy body and I can’t stop doing stuff.  I play banjo, I play guitar, and I’m trying to learn mandolin.  I want to get a cajon so I can play percussion someday.  I want to make my own album.  I have a workshop at home. …  I’m never going to be able to retire because I’m never going to run out of stuff I want to do.