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Mr. Wolfinger's Educational Philosophy

Having taught since 2005 in diverse educational settings in Chicago and Fort Worth, Texas, I bring a multifaceted background to my teaching practice. My academic journey includes degrees in paramedic medicine, culinary arts, paralegal studies, theology, education, and political science. This varied experience enriches my approach to education, allowing me to draw from a broad spectrum of knowledge and skills.

Authentic and Engaging Learning Experiences

My primary objective as an educator is to create authentic unit and lesson plans that captivate students' interest in specific content areas while simultaneously developing their essential reading and writing skills. These skills are crucial for students' success in post-secondary education and their future careers. Whether students aspire to attend a four-year university, a community college, a vocational or trade school, or enter directly into the workforce, proficiency in reading and writing is fundamental to achieving their goals.

A Holistic Approach to Student Preparedness

Over the last decade, there has been a prevailing notion that all students must pursue a college education. I challenge this belief, recognizing that college is not the only pathway to success. While it is vital to equip all students with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in a college environment if they choose that path, it is equally important to prepare them for other viable career opportunities. My goal is to ensure that every student is ready for the academic rigor they may encounter in any post-secondary setting, while also valuing and supporting diverse career aspirations.

Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills

One of the cornerstones of my teaching philosophy is fostering critical thinking and encouraging students to question everything. The ability to think critically, analyze arguments, and understand multiple perspectives is the most significant skill students will develop in my class. It is not enough to form opinions; students must understand the rationale behind their beliefs. By engaging in thoughtful discourse and exploring various viewpoints, students learn to compartmentalize arguments and develop a deeper understanding of complex issues.

In conclusion, my educational philosophy is rooted in the belief that all students should be provided with meaningful, engaging learning experiences that prepare them for diverse post-secondary pathways. By emphasizing the importance of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills, I strive to equip my students with the tools they need to succeed in any endeavor they choose to pursue.

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RESEARCH INTERESTS

Foreign Affairs

As a political Scientist, I am intellectually curious about how the world views American Policies.  I am a member of the Midwest Political Science Association as well as the American Political Science Association.  

Paleo-Anthropology

To understand where we are going, we must also understand where we came from.  I travel to symposiums and conferences throughout the academic year to learn more about our prehuman ancestors.  

Chicago Politics

I have written extensively on Chicago Politics, most importantly on the topic of patronage and nepotism in the Chicago Political Machine.  

Terrorism and Middle East Studies

After the events of 9/11, terrorism studies and understanding the history of the Middle East became very important to my overall academic work in both my undergraduate development as well as my graduate school program.  

EDUCATION

2014-2019

Northeastern Illinois University

MA Educational Leadership

2011-2014

Northeastern Illinois University

MA Political Science

2007-2011

University of St. Mary of the Lake

M.Div. Theology

2003-2007

Roosevelt University

MA Secondary Education / Learning Behavioral Specialist

2001-2003

Roosevelt University

BA Political Science

1999-2001

Northwestern University

Paralegal Studies

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