Wheeler voted best teacher at Cal High

World history, AP government teacher’s love for her job and students helps make her great


Austin Hille and Raz Mostaghimi

Throughout their high school careers, Cal High students have been affected by many things: seagulls, excessively heavy books, and most importantly, teachers.

Of course, every teacher is different. But some teachers are so special they warrant not only respect, but admiration.

How would one define the best teacher? Here at The Californian, we think it takes more than a light homework load or a bountiful supply of videos to watch.

The best teachers are the ones  who love their jobs, and can actually make groggy students respond to the subject. Maybe they scold hooligans, or forget to move the cursor from the screen when showing a video, but at the end of the day, Cal is a better place because of them.

According to 200 seniors who voted in a poll conducted by The Californian, the best teacher at Cal is Anja Wheeler, who teaches world history and AP U.S. government and politics.

“She’s so entertaining to listen to,” said senior Charlotte Forgey-Jahn. “She loves what she teaches, which makes it even more entertaining to listen to and I actually get really interested in everything she lectures on. She has a really enthusiastic personality.”

Many students feel that this personality contributes to the overall quality of the class.

“It was a very entertaining class. There were a lot of activities and unlike some other classes, you would actually learn a lot because she would make you learn, if that means anything,” said senior Long Dinh. “She’s a quality teacher.”

Many students in Wheeler’s sophomore world history classes also share this view.

“It helps you pay attention when the teacher’s lively,” said sophomore Joshua Kyser. “She’s my favorite, she’s so fun to be around, and she just makes the class a lot more fun to be in.”

Wheeler, who is in her ninth year of teaching at Cal, attributes this impact that she has on her students to humor and love.

“I think you need to have a good sense of humor, just to get through the day, and you have to genuinely like kids,” said Wheeler. “Honestly, I think the biggest thing is remembering you’re working with people who are pretty much adults, and therefore should be treated as such.”

As a result, Wheeler says that while she tries to have and keep rules as much as possible, she also realizes that sometimes there has to be exceptions.

“I try to be consistent, but I also try to realize that there are certain things that you need to just let go,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler also testifies to becoming more aware of how small of an impact she has on a student’s overall high school experience.

“I’ve learned that my classes are not the end all be all of what you do here,” said Wheeler. “So I’ve learned to embrace that it’s not about what I teach. It’s about who I teach.”

When asked how she balances teaching well and maintaining a good relationship with her students, Wheeler admits she has never thought about that before.

“I think one just begets the other,” said Wheeler. “I think if you have a good relationship with the kids then I think they will be more open to listening to you.”

This close relationship she has with her students could be expected when hearing why she was first motivated to become a teacher.

“I really like people, and I really like talking to people,” said Wheeler.

She is also very familiar with the struggles today’s students face.

“I just think the amount of time you spend scribbling notes… takes away from being a teenager,” said Wheeler.

Perhaps the biggest reason her students love her so much is because of the genuine love she has for her job.

“If you give them a chance, high school students are so awesome to spend your days with,” said Wheeler. “My friends are all jealous because I get to laugh all day at my job.”