Maria Waerzeggers teaches second and third grade at the Milwaukee Academy of Science, 2000 W. Kilbourn Ave., an independent charter school that opened in 2000. This is the third installment of a new OnMilwaukee.com series highlighting talented Milwaukee teachers.
OnMilwaukee.com: How many years have you taught at the Milwaukee Academy of Science and did you teach anywhere prior?
Maria Waerzeggers: This is my second year teaching at MAS and I taught at Howe Elementary School in Green Bay for four years before this.
OMC: What led you down the path to teaching?
MW: I went to Marquette University for undergrad and I went to Cardinal Stritch to become a teacher. I received my master’s in the art of teaching. I became a teacher because it was a natural fit for me. I grew up hating school, because, unfortunately, I did not have all wonderful teachers and I wanted to ensure other students didn’t have that same negative school experience.
OMC: What is your favorite part of the job?
MW: My favorite part of the job is that every day is new, exciting and fun. I make a difference in someone’s life everyday and have students make positive experiences and stories in my life everyday. I love my job because of the solid relationships I have built. My favorites always involve parents telling me that their child loves coming to school, is happy and safe in our classroom environment and is excited about what we are learning.
OMC: What do you do during the summer?
MW: In the summer I have part time jobs to keep me busy. I am a work-aholic. I also love to read, vacation and lay out in the sun.
OMC: How do you respond to the belief that teachers have “too good” of an insurance package?
MW: I say it is one of the perks of the job. I feel I deserve everything I get because I work hard for my pay and insurance.
OMC: What is your role as a teacher?
MW: When I grew up, I came to school knowing a lot, my parents were my first teachers and they taught me the basics like my name, letters, numbers, how to write my numbers and letters, adding, subtracting — the basic information all kids should know by time they attend school. My teachers extended and expanded the learning I did at home. Now, children come to school with little-to-no previous learning and life experiences and I must fill in all learning gaps in addition to creating an educational foundation that I went to school already knowing.
OMC: Anything else you’d like to say about public school teaching?
MW: I have the world’s best class. They help keep me upbeat, excited about learning and motivated to come to school ready to be my best every day.