Mr. VG

Have you ever met the nicest teacher ever? Well, I have, and his name is Dan Vangalen. Here’s what he had to say when I got a chance to sit down with him for an interview.

What grade do you teach?
I teach seventh and eighth-grade life science and earth science, and Spanish.

Do you have any kids?
Yes, I have two daughters.

Do you like working at Mineral Point?
Oh, I love working at Mineral Point. This is the only place that I’ve taught ever.

Why do you like or not like working at Mineral Point?
I love working at Mineral Point because it reminds me of the school that I attended when I was in high school. It’s a small-town school, with small-town values, and nice people. You know, people, people like to get things done. Get it right. That’s why I love it.

Why do you like Spanish?
Spanish was always interesting because it wasn’t like other classes. You could do games, you could do activities, you could learn about history, culture, grammar, stuff, literature, you know, it was just a combination of everything. And I loved it as a student and love teaching it as a teacher.

Why do you like science?
Science? Well, that was my first. Actually, my first major that I had, and I liked science, because, well, it made sense. It was interesting to see how the world worked. How life affects other life, the logic behind it, the reasoning behind it. And the variation in topics anywhere from life, to earth, to rocks, to minerals, to space to stars to you name it.

What’s your favorite grade to teach?
Well, let’s see. I would say eighth grade. Because, well, you know what? Gosh, that’s a hard question. Because I like the different grades for different reasons. I probably like teaching eighth grade, because I know I’m getting them ready for high school.

What year was your favorite to teach?
What year were you guys in? Last year. Yeah, the year that you guys were in eighth grade and seventh grade? Those are the best. I loved it

Why was it your favorite?
Well, because you and BBH were in it.

When are you going to retire?
I would say in two, three, or four years. Probably three.

What are you going to do when you retire?
That’s TBD, to be determined. I don’t know. We’ll have to see. The first thing that I’m thinking about is driving a forklift because I loved doing that in high school. So who knows? You might see me on a forklift at Costco in Verona. I don’t know.

What made you want to be a teacher?
Well, first of all, my love for the subjects like Spanish and science. And I always thought that I would love to be able to tell and present that information, tell that information, teach that information to others so that they can understand how I didn’t have an appreciation for that material just as I have.

Why do you like being a teacher?
Why do I like being a teacher? Because I can mold young minds and get them ready for a bright future beyond high school and middle school.

Dane Hirsch
Dane Hirsch

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.