Never Give Up On Your Dreams (Educator Profile: Lawrence Rothweiler)

Lawrence Rothweiler never wanted to give up teaching or counseling. So he did the only thing he could—both.

Never Give Up On Your Dreams (Educator Profile: Lawrence Rothweiler)

Kieran Leiber

Mr. Rothweiler knew from the start that he wanted to be involved in a school system — but he didn’t know whether to choose teaching or counseling. 

Mr. Rothweiler started working at Glen Ridge towards the end of 2017. For the past five years he has been conflicted on what to do, but recently he decided that he was not willing to give up teaching or counseling. 

Now as a teacher and a counselor, he acknowledges that there are many difficulties in multi-tasking, but approaches both roles with a determined mindset. It is hard to teach and also counsel some of the same kids, but Mr. Rothweiler says it is interesting to watch how students’ brains work and see how they are doing.

Covid-19 has been tough on everyone, but especially the students. For Mr. Rothweiler, getting to see how this has affected them and how it affects their performance in class is one of the most interesting things about his dual career.     


Q: How long have you been teaching?

This is my fifth full year. I started in the 2016-17 school year at the very end of the year. Since I have started working here, there have definitely been some challenges, but overall I really enjoy teaching and counseling students. 

How has the transfer from teaching history to counseling been?

I’ve been doing this for the last couple months, and it’s really cool to have my feet in both teaching and counseling. It’s definitely nice to see what’s going on down here, counseling, and in class, but sometimes it is hard switching from one to the other.

How has being a teacher/counselor affected you as a person? 

Being a teacher has affected me as a person because I get to see what and how all of the students are feeling and how their brains are working, which gives me a nice view of how they feel. Then I get to see how the students perform in class and see how each and everything affects them as a person and with their performance in class. 

What has been the hardest thing when teaching/counseling kids?

The hardest thing about working as a teacher and a counselor is that it is sometimes tough to turn my ‘teacher-brain’ off and my ‘counselling-brain’ on and vice versa. Sometimes I need a couple of minutes to transition from one to the other. Also making sure that students are comfortable with me being their counselor and a teacher is hard to get some students to do as well.

What are some things you like to do outside of teaching/counseling?

Easy answer is nothing. I like my free time, but I watch a lot of TV. I’m a big fan of baseball and football, so whenever football or baseball is on, I watch it. Obviously baseball isn’t on right now, so I’ll watch whatever football game comes on during the week. That’s kind of it. I’m not really doing much right now.

Did you always want to become a teacher?

Yeah, I always knew I wanted to go into education, but I was always back and forth on counseling and teaching, and I’ve made the decision again like fifteen times since I’ve started, but now doing both is really nice, and that’s kind of the ideal situation for me because I wasn’t totally comfortable giving up one or the other. 

Do you have goals you want to accomplish as a teacher in the future?

I’m teaching economics now too, in addition to counseling so I want to continue that program, and see where that kind of takes me. I’ve got four classes right now, so that’s really big. I don’t know if that’s sustainable or not, but I want to see what I can do and where I can go with that. That will be really interesting. Also just evolving this role as a counselor/teacher, because this is really new to the school, so I think it can be really beneficial to the school and I want to do the best I can with that. 

How have kids and the Glen Ridge school system changed since you started working here? 

Not too much. In the past five years, until last year, I’ve taught a lot of the same students in that time. The past year has definitely influenced the students, their confidence, pride and the ability they see themselves having. I think that the past year has been hard on everyone and everyone is going to have to adapt to what school is going to be like going forward, and that definitely influences them.