Dr. Kowaleski, more commonly spoken as “Dr. K.”, has devoted 22 years to the Detroit Country Day English Department. She teaches some of the schools most rigorous English classes right inside of our atrium. Dr. K can usually be found roaming the halls with her coffee mug or chatting with Ms. Keeler in the library during her rare free time. When asked to be interviewed for Fear the Sting, Dr. K said: “they tried to write an article about me before, but I just was not interesting enough”. Despite her own belief, Dr. K had plenty unique and interesting things to share.
Let’s take a trip to before she was Dr. K when she was just K. She grew up in Farmington Hills with 8 siblings, which explains her tolerance for rowdy and excited English students. She attended Mercy High School where she was, as she described herself, “reserved and shy”. And, contradicting the mentality those in her classes are forced to have, Dr. K even described herself as a “procrastinator”. “I enjoyed math and science, I was even voted best chemistry student…I thought I would be a scientist or do something with math” she said. Dr. K even worked as a waitress for 20+ hours a week during the school year, and for two summers in High School, she lived in Paris with the president’s daughter of the company her father worked for. This may explain her commitment to European literature, or maybe she just seized the opportunity to go abroad.
Dr. K is a Wolverine at heart as she attended the University of Michigan for undergraduate school. “During college is where I found interest in English,” she told me. Outside of the classroom, while many college students often sell their unwanted season tickets for the highly esteemed Michigan football team, Dr. K was resourceful when she realized these tickets would just collect dust. “I had a roommate that was always in my room, I gave her my season tickets to get her out of the room,” showing not only her wit, but how being 1 of 9 kids paid off in the lesson of privacy, and more specifically how to attain privacy.
Dr. K attended Indiana University where she majored in British and American 19th Century Literature. She spent ten years earning her PhD. She also student taught there, and soon after graduation returned to Michigan to teach at our very own Detroit Country Day School.
Outside of the atrium and the Norton Anthology of American Literature, who is Dr. K now? Dr. K returned to Ann Arbor where she currently resides. When she is not sleeping or grading papers or various other assignments, she says “I enjoy riding my bike downtown, going to concerts and museums”. In the summers she enjoys spending time with her family. “My parents decided to build a pool in the backyard after all of my siblings had moved out, so we would come home in the summer and all be together”.
As an English teacher, Dr. K says “I have a lot of freedom with what I want to teach, that is a great thing about our school”. Out of curiosity, Dr. K gave me the inside scoop on how long each paper takes to grade. “I can grade about 3 papers per hour, but I read each paper more than once to make sure I am fair”. In all, Dr. K spends at least 30 minutes grading each paper. Dr. K says “the most boring thing to grade is the 21st paper because I have already read so many”.
Despite what English teachers say, everyone has a favorite book. Dr. K shared “I love Jane Austen, I don’t let my seniors analyze her work because I love it too much to let it be criticized.” Not only can Pride and Prejudice offer insight into the 19th century, but it also appears to be the way to Dr. K’s heart.
To leave you all with some wisdom, Dr. K says that at a school as rigorous as DCDS, “you have to find time to have some fun”. Maybe some of this fun could be talking to someone as awesome as Dr. K.