“I believe that as individuals, we need spaces within our day-to-day responsibilities and schedules to acknowledge what we think and feel beyond school and work; once we acknowledge it and have some time to process it, we can get back to what we need to do for the rest of our day,” said new English teacher Ms. Raven Wilhelm.
One of two new Bronx Science English teachers, Ms. Raven Wilhelm is known for her strong personality and deep, personal discussions in the classroom. However, there is more to her than meets the eye, as she balances being a high school English teacher and a graduated student at Teachers College, Columbia University.
While she states that her current profession was unexpected, she is fond of people, especially the young. “I believe that you have to invest in the youth if you want to build a better tomorrow,” Ms. Wilhelm said. Additionally, her teaching style is based on her current experience as a student. She reflects on her teachers and what she can do to make each of her students feel important. “I had so many great teachers growing up – and some not so great ones too – and I always think about what made those classes great and what the other classes were missing. I always loved teachers who understood me and were authentic, and I am the same with my own students,” said Wilhelm. Being both a teacher and a graduate student is not an easy workload, but Ms. Wilhelm has learned how to manage her time wisely between both priorities. “I focus on Bronx Science during the week and my graduate school on the weekends,” she said.
In her classes, Ms. Wilhelm has incorporated the idea of “writing for full presence,” originating with a mentor and professor at Columbia University. The purpose of this practice is to mentally and emotionally prepare for class activities and simply reflect on the day.
Wilhelm believes that it is important to take time out of our days to reflect on our emotions in order to understand ourselves better. Her classes include “uninterrupted writing sessions where the students get to pour out all of their immediate thoughts and emotions into a subject,’’ said Rahib Taher ‘22. As Bronx Science students, we are faced with the pressure of being successful in both our academic and social lives. Setting time aside to express our feelings before getting back to our work can allow us to feel more comfortable and at ease.
While this is only her first year as a Bronx Science teacher, Ms. Wilhelm has already made a lasting impression on her students. In her rhetoric class, for example, she encourages deep, yet respectful, debates between students. Her upbeat personality also allows her to connect with her students and encourage them to verbally express their ideas. An anonymous student describes her classes as “engaging, relatable, and always funny.” That relatability is what resonates deeply with her students. Carolina Hohl ’22 describes her as being “understanding of how much work and other things we have going on in our lives.”
Wilhelm is only just getting started, and she plans on studying for a Ph.D. in the future to eventually become a professor and writer. She describes the feeling of success as “devoting yourself completely to your interests and goals to see them be brought into fruition, for you and for others to benefit from them.” For now, though, she is more than happy as a Bronx Science teacher and greatly values “teaching such smart and driven students from different backgrounds and cultures.”
“I believe that you have to invest in the youth if you want to build a better tomorrow,” Ms. Wilhelm said.