Mr. Matthew Kalwasinski, psychology teacher: 1,476,000 minutes teaching

Matthew Kalwasinski

For some, a single moment can define their life, but for others (especially teachers), it is often the little things that truly make a lasting impact. As I reflect on the past 20+ years of teaching at MHS, I struggle to think of one specific moment where I made an impact on a student’s life, and the reality is that some teachers never know what one thing they said or did that helped a student.

Personally, I think of the daily interactions and conversations that I have with students—the laughter between passing periods, the times students tell me what is going on in their lives and the questions about what Bean and I did over the weekend. It is rewarding when students tell me that my class was their favorite and how much they enjoyed coming to class because of my teaching style, my humor and sarcasm, but more importantly the subject matter: Psychology.

I am very fortunate to teach a subject that I am passionate about, and I think it shows when I am teaching. Psychology—the study of mental processes and behavior—allows students to make personal connections and gives them knowledge that they can use for the rest of their lives. I have had many students tell me that they plan to major in Psychology, and even if they end up changing their mind, it is extremely satisfying to know that I was able to make a subject matter so interesting that they wanted to make a career out of it.

When you think about it, high school is just four years of one’s life and for some, it can be a struggle. If my class can make a student’s day just a little bit better and help them learn more about themselves, then that is the lasting impact that I can hope for. I may never have that one single big moment, but I can make sure that the multiple smaller moments make a difference.