Getting to Know Your Teachers: Mr. Dhaliwal

The R-Hi staff would like to warmly welcome Mr. Dhaliwal, a new addition to the RHS staff! Since he is new to the building, what’s a better way to get to know him than interviewing him for March’s installment of Getting to Know Your Teachers? Mr. Dhaliwal, or Mr. D, is Mrs. Bowden’s replacement due to her maternity leave; he has taken over all her APLAC classes. So far, there has been nothing but amazing feedback from the students regarding Mr. D’s classroom environment.

Next month’s teacher, as usual, will be chosen based on student and teacher entries from this google form. Thank you to Mr. D for participating in the interview and welcome again!

Teaching-Related Questions

Q: What did you expect your first day of teaching to be like? Was it different from what you expected?

A: Well, I was thinking about the worst-case scenario, like kids throwing chairs at each other and stuff. I didn’t have anything like that, all the students have been great. My first day was really nice, the students were super accepting and it was funny because right away they were telling each other to be quiet. Talk about first impressions, I didn’t even expect that so I really appreciated that.

Q: Since you are replacing Mrs. Bowden, what do you want to bring to the classroom that represents you as a teacher instead of Mrs. Bowden?

A: I don’t know, I mean, I feel like I do want to take things from Mrs. Bowden because whenever I talk to the seniors they say they loved her and that she was an ideal teacher. So really, my only hope is to be like her. In terms of just bringing my own personality to the table, I want to keep it interesting for the kids, you don’t want to have them bored in class. I want to let them have fun because APLang is also a rougher class because you’re not doing a lot of reading, you’re mostly writing rhetorical analysis, so I just want to keep it engaging for them.

Q: You have mentioned in class that teachers have been important in your life, could you go into more detail?

A: I don’t want to get depressing too quickly, but they were just great to me. I remember from fourth to fifth grade, I was definitely a rascal of a student, always getting into verbal arguments with other students, but teachers never shunned me for it. They just wanted me to engage that in a different way, whether that be through writing or debates and stuff like that. So, they definitely helped me and there have been so many great teachers. I remember my teacher Mr. Rini in sixth grade, he was just a math teacher and I’ve never been a math student, but he was just great. He would just talk to us every day and felt more like a friend than a teacher. It made you more comfortable and made it an easier place to learn. He’d show us things like the Twilight Zone and I Love Lucy which are super old shows. You’d always feel that connection which I always appreciated, which goes for every single teacher I’ve ever had.

Q: You told your classes you used to work at TJ Maxx, do you like teaching better than TJ Maxx?

A: Oh, so much more! TJ Maxx was horrible because I’d be in the furniture section and some lady would come over and say, “Do you know where the master locks are?” and I’ve got no clue where the master locks are so I’d just tell her to go to the opposite side of the building and then I would just hide after because I was too awkward. I wasn’t the best TJ Maxx worker but TJ Maxx is different because here you have the dialogue with the students which is fun. Folding towels for four hours a day wasn’t how I envisioned my life going.

Q: What do you expect of your students?

A: I mean, all you could really ask for in the beginning is mutual respect between the teacher and students. You don’t want them to start stepping all over you. Stuff like that kind of worries me, but with the AP kids, all the students have been amazing. So, I just hope they come to class with energy. Especially going into college, a lot of classes are dialogue-based and discussion based. Having a class where you’re already comfortable with that will be helpful in college.

Personal Questions

Q: You have told your students you’re English, what is your favorite place to visit in England?

A: I love Lester’s Square, it’s just such a nice place to walk around. The dream is a walkable city, I love driving and sitting in the car, but a walkable city is just the perfect life. England doesn’t have the nicest beaches, but they have some really cool cliffs which I really enjoy. I’ve never been to Stonehenge so it’d be cool to see what that’s all about.

Q: Earlier in the year, Ms. Bowden had her class choose and write about their favorite word or phrase. What would you say yours is?

A: Oh that’s good. I love so many Briticisms but I’m gonna go with “different gravy”. It’s like when you do something so good or so nice, it was different gravy. I just love saying that.

Q: How would you describe your style? How would you rate it?

A: I don’t know because in high school I just wore sweats and hoodies all the time. In high school I just wore whatever, I didn’t really care that much. Then in college, it was also hard because it was hard to wake up for classes so I just kind of wore whatever I saw. I don’t know, something just clicked where I just wanted to start wearing nicer clothes. Showing up in dress pants makes me feel like I’m about to walk on Wall Street so I get all excited.

Yeah, my style is pretty normal. I like outlandish pants though; when I go to the movies I wear sweats that are like 12 different colors. Also, my biggest fear is seeing a student out in public, I think I’d run away. I’m always dressed up here but if they see me in a hoodie and sweats with a hat on I think I’d start sweating. I think I’d rate my style a 7 and a half, you can always improve. I have a weak tie collection so far, but I also don’t like ties because they choke me and I can’t breathe, but I think the shirts are looking up. I need to get more jackets to wear, I only have two jackets. So yeah, I’d say 7.5.

Q: Do you have any special talents you would like to share? What’s a talent you wish you had?

A: I’ll be honest, I don’t think I have any talents. I’m trying to think, but I really don’t think so. I was really good at connect four when I was younger so I’ll take that. I wish I had some sort of musical talent. I love listening to music, in my head I’ll start playing the drums but I know if I actually tried to play it would sound like a car crash. I would love to have musical talent, even a guitar would be cool. I tried playing guitar when I was younger; I learned one song, “Enter Sandman,” but I never did it again because it was too stressful.

Q: What’s your gas station order?

A: I love to get some peanuts. You’ve got to get some candy too, I love peanut M&Ms, I think my life would be a lot worse if I was allergic to peanuts. Peanuts are great. I’d probably get something sour too, Sour Patch Kids just aren’t really sour. I’m thinking like sour Skittles.

Q: Is there any advice you’d like to share with your students?

A: The only advice I can think of is to read more. When I was in high school, I used to read so much more. I just think reading is great. You could fall into a trap of going on TikTok for so long, but you don’t grow from that. When you read something, the beginning is so rough, but then you hit that flow in the middle and then at the end when it’s over you just get that gut feeling of it being over but it was so interesting and you want to read more but you’re still thinking about the last book. I just think things like that are great. I would say to students to just read, you don’t have to read Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Satre, just read anything that you find interesting. It helps.

Random Questions

Q: Do you think you would survive in the apocalypse?

A: No. I would absolutely give up within a week. It’s just too stressful to fight. Oh god, I’m watching shows like The Last of Us and other sorts of apocalypse shows and I don’t know how they have the willpower. I would give up very quickly.

Q: Are there any conspiracy theories that you believe in?

A: Oh god, this is dangerous territory. I think the CIA killed JFK, I think JFK was a good man and I think that they got him. I’m still not over that. I think Lee Harvey Oswald was given a false- can I get fired for this? I hope not.

Q: Why do cows wear bells?

A: I’m like baffled right now, is that a pun or a joke? Why do cows wear bells? Because they have a beaver. I have no clue, that was a Saturday Night Live reference. Is there an answer? (Answer: This question is a reference from Rocky 2 from a scene where Rocky asks his wife “Why do cows wear bells?” and he says, “because their horns don’t work.”) Oh my god! I feel like a fraud because I just watched the Creed movies! I watched Creed on Sunday!

Q: Have you ever transcended space and time?

A: Oh wow. When I watched Interstellar I thought I was flying away for a little bit, that movie is nuts. I don’t think I’ve transcended space or time. Oh! You know, when I listen to Pink Floyd’s album, The Dark Side of the Moon, oh my goodness, when I listen to that I think I’m flying away.

Q: Which bear is best?

A: Bear? Like kind of bear? The polar bear will literally eliminate you if they see you. I think a brown bear is the least likely to kill you, so maybe I could be friends with that kind of bear. The black bear I think you have to hide from. So, all of them except polar bears. Polar bears are nuts, but I feel bad for them because they’re losing their ice caps…that was a depressing way to end it.

“I would say to students to just read, you don’t have to read Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Satre, just read anything that you find interesting. It helps.”

Mr. dhaliwal