By Ashley Sierra, Contributor
New school years bring in new opportunities for both students and teachers. Besides all the new Grizzlies that are coming to Payton this year, the school also is welcoming some new teachers to Payton this year. Within this group of new teachers, one of them is English teacher Mr. Quinones.
The Paw Print: Why did you choose to come to teach at Payton?
Mr. Quinones: “I wouldn’t say that I necessarily choose to like teach here. I applied here obviously because I know that Payton is a good school and it has a pretty solid reputation, but like the actual act of me becoming a teacher here was more so like it was a job and they offered me a position. Therefore, I said, ‘What’s a better place to start my teaching career than at one of the best schools in the city?’ so I figured that it would be a good learning experience.”
The Paw Print: What are your likes about Payton so far?
Mr. Quinones: “I really like the sense of community both between the students and the faculty. Like everyone has this really nice, ‘we’re in this together; we’re all trying to help each other out’ sort of vibe. I also feel very supported in all of my teaching endeavors.”
The Paw Print: Now that we’ve gone over your likes, what might be some of your dislikes about Payton so far?
Mr. Quinones: “Well it’s nothing about the school, just online learning is not fun, but nothing against Payton for sure.”
The Paw Print: How has your teaching experience at Payton been so far?
Mr. Quinones: “I think it’s been pretty nice. I have a lot of support from my department team, my course team, and all the students have been accepting and welcoming of me. Everyone has been pretty cool. I haven’t had any traumatic experiences so far which is nice. [He chuckled.]”
The Paw Print: How have you been liking the students/alumni at Payton so far, since you are a new teacher and you have been meeting a bunch of new students?
Mr. Quinones: “Yeah, I definitely like the students a lot. I feel like I’m both impressed at how good they are on an academic level like in terms of their ability to analyze work and just talk at length about english and then, also on a more personal level I feel like they’re super open to like talking about what going on. I’m always trying to see how they’re feeling outside of school work, if they’re struggling with anything, and if I could help in any way. They’ve also been pretty cool about and open to it, very welcoming to me, and I haven’t had any bad experiences yet so I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”
The Paw Print: I know that during high school you attended Lane Tech, but what college did you attend before starting your teaching career?
Mr. Quinones: “Northwestern University.”
The Paw Print: What is your favorite color?
Mr. Quinones: “I would have to say coral or turquoise”
The Paw Print: Do you have any hobbies or interests that you like to do outside of school since this article is all about Mr. Quinones?
Mr. Quinones: [He Chuckled.] “I like spending time with my friends and family. I like watching movies, playing video games, and playing sports with my friends and just hanging out.”
The Paw Print: What type of music are you into?
Mr. Quinones: “A lot of people say that they listen to all kinds of music, but I think that I actually listen to all kinds of music. As of right now I would say that my favorite genre is probably hip-hop, Rap [Rhythm and Blues], and Soul. Everything under the hip-hop moniker is just the best. I love it and I’d listen to it all day every day.”
The Paw Print: Outside of school work, what do you like to do on a daily basis?
Mr. Quinones: “In the small amount of time that I have when I’m not doing stuff for school I like to play video games with my friends now since COVID-19 prohibits us from meeting in person. I like spending time with my family, talking to my grandma if she comes over, and try to relax, sleep, read a book [He chuckled]. Pretty basic stuff.”
The Paw Print: Since I learned that you are very into fashion, what would you wear if you were able to teach at the building?
Mr. Quinones: “If I was at school I would have to flex hard on my students. I would pull out a very clean cotton button down shirt, maybe a nice tie but a knit tie like one of those old school knit ones, a nice blazer that’s probably a light blue or maybe even a brown one if I was feeling saucy, some coloroid pants that are either cuffed or flooded, and some nice socks with my Dr. Marten Chelsea Boots! A nice fall look.” [He laughed]
The word delighted couldn’t even describe the look on Mr. Quinones’ face when he was talking about what outfit he would wear to school.
The Paw Print: If you could only have one food that you could eat for the rest of your life what would it be?
Mr. Quinones: “I would eat kimchi fried rice with Spam.”
The Paw Print: What are some pet peeves that you have?
Mr. Quinones: “When people take a long time to respond to text messages.”
The Paw Print: What is your favorite thing about Chicago?
Mr. Quinones: “I like that Chicago has a little bit of something for everyone. There’s always something to do, there’s always people around, and there’s just so many things to do. I love it. I mean, I grew up here. I guess I also like it because the people here are very proud of being from here; there’s a lot of Chicago pride and you can tell. I think I just like that it’s a really happy place and there’s always stuff to do. Not only that but there’s a lot of cool things here that no matter how long you live here, there still might be things that you haven’t discovered. So, I’m always looking to go to new places to chill and see what the city has to offer.”
The Paw Print: If you could have any superpower in the world what would it be?
Mr. Quinones: “My superpower would probably be flight. If I could fly that would be kind of cool- no commute time, and [I could] just fly for everything.”
The Paw Print: What’s your favorite animal?
Mr. Quinones: “I like dogs. Dogs are just a solid animal because they’re friendly, cute, furry, and fun. If you play with a dog they would love you. I don’t really know, but dogs are really dope.”
The Paw Print: What’s your favorite catchphrase to use?
Mr. Quinones: “I like ‘nice, nice, nice!’ Or ‘yes, yes, yes!’ Either of those. Just saying ‘nice’ or ‘yes’ three times in a row [He laughed]. I feel like it’s a really neat way to express how happy you are during a certain time.”
The Paw Print: Last Question. What is your opinion on equity?
Mr. Quinones: “I think that Equity is something Educators should prioritize in their classes and as a school, it becomes a group effort to truly achieve. I try my best to practice Equity by making accommodations to help students come together and be able to stand on an equal footing within the classroom. Equity allows for students to be able to capitalize on every opportunity instead of just the ones that may favor them based on their backgrounds.”
Image courtesy of Nicholas Quinones