Sydney Widman

Fine Arts & Special Education Teacher

Began at Teachwell:


Why did you choose this field?

I hadn't chosen teaching originally because I had wanted to go into social services. It was my idea that I wanted to help others the way I had been helped but I did not want to be making such finite changes to the lives of families. One day my art teacher told me I should consider becoming a teacher and now ten years later I couldn't be happier with that decision I made.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a doctor or nurse but that was until my brother hurt his head one time on a trampoline (thank gosh).

What or who most inspires you?

My family is so big in supporting me and most of all they taught me to never stop pushing and growing and achieving. I am inspired by my students and watching the success of others around me. I love feeling like I am "winning" and that comes when I see others feeling it too.

Why Teachwell?

I have grown up with alternative programs and I knew that was where I wanted to be.

What are you proudest of?

I know that I change lives for the better whether that be by forming relationships that last, teaching a new skill or talent, or making a child see their own talent and feel the pride they deserve to feel.

How do you hope to make a difference?

I hope that I can change the trajectory of someone's day from a not so great one into a great one. I don't need accolades for me being me but I find my peace when I make others feel peace.

What lessons has your work life taught you?

Laugh at the small things and make that laugh contagious.

What is your background? Experience, degrees, skills, etc.?

I have two degrees from Augustana University (Art and K-12 Education). I often found myself requesting from my professor, Julie Ashworth, to please find me a practicum in a classroom where I could feel my most challenged or see a new side of teaching. I felt at home when I spent time at Axtell and Hawthorne and I knew after that what I wanted for myself long term. I was raised in an interesting dynamic and I overcame that dynamic and I found success for myself and I believe that in a small part makes me qualified for this job.

People would be surprised to know that I . . .

I can cross my eyes. I have a pet lizard plus 3 dogs and a cat. I can pick things up with my toes. I am ambidextrous. My family lives in an old funeral home. I am definitely not the typical "art teacher" you would expect. I am a great baker and I show my caring through food and small acts of kindness.