Prior to coming to Fenwick in 2015, English Teacher Ms. Magrady taught for mentor Dr. Lordan in Forest Park 28 years ago!
What is your educational background?
GM: B.A. – Dominican University; M.Ed. – Northeastern Illinois University
What did you do prior to becoming a teacher at Fenwick?
GM: The first principal to hire me right out of college (1990) was from St. Bernardine School in Forest Park; his name was Dr. Gerald Lordan. Little did I know back then how blessed I would become with the teaching profession and with that professional mentor. After St. Bernardine, I taught in the English department at Proviso East High School until I became a mom. I stayed home with my sons (Ethan ’18 and Liam ’19) while an adjunct [professor] at Wright College and substitute at Ascension School. In 2008 I returned to full-time teaching as the middle school Language Arts teacher at St. Luke School in River Forest. In 2015, Dr. Lordan welcomed me again, this time as a colleague at Fenwick High School.
What interests do you pursue outside of the classroom?
GM: I enjoy reading and writing. I am currently in research mode for my second work of Chicago historical fiction, the sequel to LINES. That novel earned me the title, 2016 Winner of the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project (a self-publishing initiative sponsored by the Illinois Library Association and Reading Across Illinois Library Systems). Since receiving the award, I’ve been speaking at libraries throughout the state about my writing journey. I also dabble in poetry and essays for personal and publishing purposes. I tend to be my most focused and inspired while writing at my favorite spot called the Friendly Coffee Lounge (Berwyn). Being part of a music community (there’s a live music venue next door and a music school upstairs), I’m surrounded by another “love” (music). I’m always taking notes for a future project, a non-fiction book called Friendly Folk, to share the vibrant history of these businesses as well as the heartfelt stories of musicians and patrons who call this place “home.”
To what teams and/or clubs did you belong as a student?
GM: Growing up with four brothers and a sports-fanatic father, I’ve always appreciated sports. Unfortunately, I never got much of a chance to play them because my grade school only offered cheerleading as an organized sport for girls; thus, I started cheering when I was in second grade, a tag-a-long for the 8th grade team (my dad was the basketball coach). So, that’s all for sports, but not for team/club involvement: theater, dance, speech, yearbook, student government, multicultural club, choir, church youth group… I was the Marcia Brady of the ’80s.
Which clubs/Sports/Activities do you run at Fenwick?
GM: I am the Speech Club moderator, and I also coordinate a tutoring program with St. Catherine/St. Lucy School. I enjoy both endeavors but am especially proud of the Fenwick students who tutor with me. The subject? Math!
What quality/characteristic marks a Fenwick student?
GM: All Fenwick students — no matter their religion or class, nationality or race, ability level or personal interest — ALL Fenwick students come from homes that value education and service. A student’s academic progress is a priority, and we all do our part in helping others. We’ve actually talked in my classes about those characteristics, and my students agree.
What personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your teaching?
GM: Respect. There are plenty of rules in life, but that’s my umbrella rule in the classroom. It works. I respect my students, they respect me.
I tell them to succeed in my classroom and in life in general, before they act or speak, ask themselves two things:
- Will my actions/words annoy Ms. Magrady?
- Will my actions/words disappoint Ms. Magrady?” If the answer is yes to either question, I tell my students to avoid the action or word.
What is the greatest success you have had in teaching?
GM: Each year at St. Luke, the graduating class truly believed they were my favorite class. And they were always right. 🙂
How do you motivate your students to become active learners in your classroom?
GM: Everyone should be ready to participate. A hand-raiser might not be the one called on in class. I also like to use group activities like Quizlet Live, GoogleDocs/Slides for presentations.
Any memorable moments?
GM: Being invited to the Fenwick Hockey Teacher Appreciation Night and accepting the St. Catherine of Alexandria Award. I am truly blessed. A very personal, memorable moment was being on the stage when my son, Ethan [’18], received his diploma. I look forward to a repeated memory this coming May with my son, Liam!