By: Lydia Larson
For this issue of The Squire, we chose Mr. Leonhardt, Eisenhower’s very own Spanish teacher and advisor of the knot tying and hacky sack advisory clubs, as our teacher spotlight. You might see him as you pass his room and hear him yell, “no running” while you are slowly walking or, “have a good weekend” when it’s actually a Tuesday. If you have him for a class, you know he is pretty funny, can tell some great jokes, and is very knowledgeable on many different topics. However, if you don’t have him as a teacher, I highly suggest signing up for Spanish. During our interview with him we learned some great information about him, let’s get started!
The Squire: What made you want to become a Spanish teacher?
Mr. Leonhardt: Well, my career in a ska band wasn’t going anywhere, so teaching was my back-up plan. Maybe it was because the only instrument I could really express myself on was the kazoo. Anyways, teaching it was. I got my first practical experience teaching as a camp counselor in the summers while I was in high school. Spanish was my favorite subject in high school and my major in college. After the Army, I got my teaching degree and have been annoying students ever since.
TS: What is one of your favorite jokes to tell to your students?
Mr. L: Jokes? I’m far too serious of a person to waste time with jokes. Just remember this one thing. There are three kinds of people in this world: those who can count and those who can’t.
TS: What do you enjoy most about your job at Eisenhower?
Mr. L: My first period class (is there a sarcastic font you could use?).
TS: What advice do you give students as their time here at Eisenhower comes to a close?
Mr. L: One of my favorite quotes is, “in youth we learn; in age we understand” by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach. I was surprised how many things I learned in high school that only later, sometimes years later, did that knowledge prove useful. This is the only education you’ll ever receive that doesn’t cost you a dime. Get all you can out of it.
TS: What are some of your hobbies outside of teaching?
Mr. L: I enjoy tree spotting. I also enjoy hiking, camping, and canoeing. I do anything that involves as few people as possible. Wait a minute. You think teaching is a hobby?
TS: What are some interesting facts that most students and teachers don’t know about you?
Mr. L: In my high school class, I was voted most likely to fill out a questionnaire. When I get nervous, I chew on other people’s fingernails. I once started a petition to change the name of West Virginia to “Left Virginia.” I am mentioned by name in a book about a U.S. combat operation in Afghanistan in 2002. The book is called Not a Good Day to Die. That last one isn’t a joke.
TS: How did you deal with the transition from serving in the army to becoming a school teacher?
Mr. L: The transition from the Army to teaching was tricky in many ways, but it wasn’t too much different from adjusting back to civilian life in general. Probably the biggest thing about those who have not been where I’ve been is the difference in perspective. There are many things that I regard as unnecessary and frivolous that most people think are utter necessities. Conversely, there are things that are required to maintain our way of life that most can’t be bothered with. Then there’s the pencil thing. Bring a pencil to class! I can’t believe how many students will never be without a phone, but who can’t hold on to a pencil.
That wraps up our interview with Mr. Leonhardt! If you want to get to know him better and hear more of his hilarious jokes, make sure you sign up for one of his classes or advisories. The Squire wants to thank Mr. Leonhardt for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions so you can learn more about him. Next time you see him in the hall, make sure to say Buenos Dias!