Your first name: Charles
Your last name: Wilken
What subject(s) do you teach? Science and Robotics
What classes did you teach this year? Robotics and Biology
What year did you begin teaching? 1989
How many years have you been a teacher? 31
How many years have you taught at Van Nuys High? 31
Did you have a prior career? If yes, what was it? Robotics and Biology
What changes have you seen over the course of your career? Have they been positive, negative, or neutral? How did they impact your teaching? I have seen the school adopt a lot of new technologies over the years. I helped write grants for a new machine shop and for bringing in a new refurbish automotive program with lots of electronics. As a technology coordinator, I helped bring modern computer labs to the school as well as getting Chromebook carts for every classroom.
What were your biggest concerns when you began teaching? Did they turn out to be justified? I was worried about getting the technology for teaching. I discovered many ways to apply for funding and getting it.
Why did you become a teacher in the first place? I went back to college later in life to study biology and went part-time for 8 years to college. I discovered I liked being in the education environment.
What did you like most about teaching? Every year is different and students are unique. It doesn’t get boring…Except for maybe grading papers for too long on the weekends.
What moment at Van Nuys High will you remember the most? For recent events, it would be going on strike. It was kind of a fun experience to see teachers get united and militant about winning the strike.
What was your worst teacher moment? My worst moments are usually the same. I usually use a lot of technology and I might make a big lesson that doesn’t work because of 1. Network issues 2. LAUSD filter issues 3. Youtube permissions issues etc.
What are your plans after you retire? I plan to write. I have 3 main plans: 1. Political Activism with “Black Lives Matter” support 2. Keep my gigantic garden working 3. Getting my website Vegan95.com active with users and commentators.