New Staff: Ben Graham
December 9, 2016
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Central Times: Where’d you grow up?
Ben Graham: I grew up in Clifton, IL. Clifton is a very small town; it’s about 15 minutes south of Kankakee. I went to a very small high school, Clifton Central.
CT: Have you taught at any other schools before?
BG: Yes. I student-taught here at Naperville Central and Jefferson Junior High. I taught P.E. at Yorkville for the past 4 years, and now I am teaching between Naperville North and Naperville Central.
CT: Why do you teach Driver’s Ed?
BG: I guess the biggest reason why I wanted to switch from P.E. to Driver’s Ed was because I felt like students remember their driver’s ed teacher. I remember my drivers ed teacher. I remember having that time in the car with my group and my teacher- you really get to know your teacher well. Your teacher could have an impact on student’s lives. So I felt like that was one of the reasons I wanted to go in Driver’s Education.
CT: If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?
BG: My family is very important to me, so I guess I would say…more vacation time with my family.
CT: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be doing right now?
BG: Before I got into teaching, I was a union iron worker, and I installed windows and high-rises in Chicago. If I wasn’t teaching, I would probably be doing that because it’s a family business; my dad still does it to this day.
CT: Do you have any pets?
BG: I do. I have a miniature schnauzer named Willie that can do lots of tricks. He likes to bark at all the neighbors.
CT: What’s your favorite place to be?
BG: The best place I’ve ever been to is Saint-martin. I went there with my wife. If I could be there again I’d definitely go.
CT: Tell me the funniest thing that you’ve seen today.
BG: Yesterday, my dog got a tooth-pulled, and this morning I saw it for the first time. It was his front tooth.
CT: What’s your favorite food?
BG: [It] has to be Lou Maltini’s deep dish pizza. Original.
CT: Who’s the most important person in your life?
BG: My wife, Edna. She holds our household together. We have two kids that she keeps track of, and she really does a great job with organizing our kids, our equipment, etc.
CT: Back when you were a high schooler, what’s the craziest thing you remember seeing?
BG: The craziest thing I’ve seen happened in my sophomore year; the senior quarterback quit the football team a day before our first game, and I took over his spot for the next three years. I couldn’t believe he did that.
CT: What’s one thing you’ve secretly wanted to tell your students?
BG: One thing I’ve wanted to tell them is that someday, this dream that they’re living in, they’re going to wake up from, and the real world’s going to hit them.
CT: Tell me about your troubles teaching, if you’ve had any.
BG: So far I haven’t had any troubles. Mr. Gonzalez, Mr. Duncan, Ms. Peterson and Mr. Fiore have been great, and have led me in the right direction. Mr. Gonzalez is my mentor, and I teach the same class as he does: Driver’s Ed. He’s been great. So far, I haven’t had any problems or wrecked any cars.
CT: How has your impression of NCHS changed after teaching here for a few weeks?
BG: Since I student taught here, back in 2010, my initial impression was that this district really “has it together.” They were very welcoming when I wanted to come and get observation hours and substitute teach. They allowed me to come in and watch different classes, and I got to learn a lot.
CT: Do you organize any extracurriculars?
BG: Currently, I am coaching freshman football at Naperville North, and sophomore boys basketball at North.
CT: In your opinion, how is North different from Central?
BG: So far, I don’t really see any glaring differences. Especially in my department, both schools are aligned and have the same outlook for students.