Teacher Appreciation Week: Day 5 Teacher Feature – Mr. Joe Zawacki

Throughout this school year, we’ve had the privilege of featuring one exceptional member of our faculty and staff each month through our Teacher Feature articles. This week, for Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re happy to bring you one Teacher Feature for each day of the week. We hope you enjoy this extra special week full of some of our wonderful teachers, and that it reminds you of some of the special teachers you’ve been blessed with in your life.

Check out our Thank a Teacher Campaign for more details on how we’re thanking our teachers in a BIG way this week.

Name: Joe Zawacki

Grade & School You Teach: 7th & 8th Grade at Pacelli Catholic Middle School

Where did you grow up and go to high school and college?

I grew up in Eau Claire, WI. I attended Regis High School and then went on to UW-Stevens Point.

Where was your first teaching job?

My first teaching job was here!

How long have you been teaching?

I am in my second year of teaching, I started here in 2015.

How long have you been teaching at Pacelli Catholic Schools?

I have been teaching in the Pacelli system for almost 2 years.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Pacelli Catholic Schools?

The community feel of the whole system. The students and their families make teaching here an incredible experience. It really does feel like a big family where everyone is looking out for everyone else.

What is unique about the education experience offered at PCS that you can’t find anywhere else?

For me, the best part is getting to know the students. I can do that because of the small classes and overall size of the school. That is definitely unique and is something I really appreciate and love about the school. I’ve gotten to know so many great people and every student who walks down the hall or past my room, I know by name, which is awesome.


What was your favorite class when you were a student?

My favorite class was probably science or phy ed…or lunch if that counts! I have always loved science, being active, & eating food.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was in elementary school I wanted to be a zookeeper. I’ve always been a big fan of animals and growing up knew almost all the local animals around Eau Claire. I’m sure I drove my parents crazy identifying everything we saw. Later on, near the end of my middle school years I started getting the idea that teaching was the path I wanted to pursue.

Who is your biggest inspiration/role model?

My biggest inspiration is my parents. They are both incredible people and to me, have really lived life the way it should be lived. They are caring, kind, funny, and faith-filled. They are always willing to lend a hand when someone needs it. I’ve tried my best to model myself after them.

What are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?

Overall a lot of my hobbies include being active in some way. I being outdoors fishing, rock climbing, hiking, camping, & exploring wild places. I also enjoy working out & playing any type of sport. I love playing music and play a couple of instruments including guitar & ukelele. Finally, I do enjoy playing video games every now and then too. I consider myself a jack of all trades but master of none!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I would say the ability to transport instantly to anywhere on Earth. I love Wisconsin but have traveled and explored a lot of the National Parks in the US. I would love to be able to take day or weekend trips out west via transporting instead of the long drives!

What’s something that most people or your students don’t know about you?

I’ll up the ante and give 3 things! 1.) My first job was working as a camp counselor in the summers, which I did for 9 years. 2.) When I was 13, I earned a black belt in karate. 3.) I have been to 12 National Parks with a lifetime goal of visiting all 59.

What is the most important piece of advice you can give to a student?

Be yourself! Around my classroom I have the saying, “Not all who wander are lost.” For me, that’s always been a mantra of sorts. Just because there’s a trail, or the way everyone else was doing it, doesn’t mean that’s the best way for you, or that you are stuck to that path. My favorite part about getting to know students is that everyone is so unique and together in my classroom we make something greater than ourselves. If everyone was the same or did everything the same way, it would be boring! You certainly will be challenged at times to remain true to yourself, but try to remember how valuable you are as an individual.

Check out our Thank a Teacher page each day of Teacher Appreciation Week this week for another Teacher Feature highlighting some of our many outstanding educators.

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