Parting questions for PV teacher


Molly Heintze

PV teacher, Dr. Mike Faigle, smiles as the thinks back on his years as a teacher. He will be retiring at the end of this year after 40 years of teaching.

Olivia Stabile , Staff Writer

After teaching for 40 years, Dr. Mike Faigle will be retiring from the Pascack Valley High School district. In 1979, Faigle started teaching at PV. Before that, he taught half of a year in Syracuse, New York, and a year in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. Faigle works in the special services department as well as helps any student with concepts they are struggling with.

  • Why are you retiring? Was this a difficult decision for you to make?

“Well, it is a difficult decision because I enjoy my job. I like coming to work everyday– I really do. That’s a big thing. I meet interesting people. I will miss this job, but you reach a certain age and you’ve been teaching for a long time and eventually you have to go, and I thought this was a good time. I have daughters; my last daughter is going to be married this summer, and I was kind of waiting for her to get married, so that helped me make my decision. I’m leaving on a very good note. I feel very positive about being a teacher and being at Pascack Valley High School, which is nice. I picked a very good career for myself.”

  • What made you become a teacher?

“First off, I work in the special services department, and I work with any student. Specifically, if there’s any student who is particularly having difficulties in any areas, I am a person that is a resource for them. I was always interested in helping those who had any kind of learning difficulties, which was my motivation to get into teaching. When I was younger, I did a lot of volunteer work in the summers at camps or with students with disabilities and I learned that I really enjoyed that a lot. Without those experiences, I probably would not have wanted to go into this direction.”

  • When did you decide you wanted to be a teacher?

“I don’t have a specific moment, but all of those volunteer experiences collectively were very positive, so together, they helped me decide that I wanted to be a teacher.”

  • Is there a memory with a student that you don’t see yourself forgetting? If so, what is it?

“I can’t think of one moment, but I do think about students who were successful when they left high school. Successful not only academically or career-wise, but also in their personal life.”

  • What is a takeaway that you have from teaching?

“It’s important to treat every student respectfully and as an individual who has unique needs. So what I think is very important is being able to learn about each student as the individual that they are. Everyone has a different story, everyone has a different background, everyone has a unique personality. I, as a teacher, have learned that students are my teacher. Every student I work with presents something different. There may be a different way I can motivate and work with that student, or different things I can learn from them. I learn everyday about what students do, what they’re interested in, and what they participate in. Being a teacher is being a learner.”

  • What do you think is the most important part of being a teacher?

“You really have to love people. If you don’t love people, what are you doing working in a people profession? Love that you are interested in them and care about them. You want your students to do well, both academically and mentally.”

  • How have you seen teaching change over the years?

“Present teachers are much more flexible when dealing with students. They are much more willing to consider the student as a whole person and not just as an academic piece. We let students who are struggling come in for extra help, retake tests, and relearn things because we want them to be successful.”

  • What do you want to be remembered for?

“A caring teacher who loved working with students, that’d be a good thing to end with.”

  • What would you tell your 25-year-old self now?

“I would say that I was very lucky to pick a job that I enjoy. Good job on my part! I made the right decision.”

  • Is there anything you wish you had done? Do you have any regrets?

“No regrets, you’re not going to find a more pleasant retiring person!”