Mr. Urbankowski:  A Man of Many Interests

"I love all of my students as if they were my own, so it's always hard to let go!"

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Mr. Urbankowski:  A Man of Many Interests

Anas Mraihy, Profile Interviewer

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On February 19, 2019, The Metronome had an opportunity to interview Mr. Daniel Urbankowski who has been a teacher ever since METS Charter School opened. Mr. Urbankowski has been a history teacher with us since the beginning and continues to be there for our students every year. The Metronome was surprised to learn Mr. Urbankowski is a man of many interests including traveling around the world, listening to all kinds of music, and helping his students graduate.  

The Metronome:  What kind of music do you like?

Mr. Urbankowski:  I like all kinds of music – from hardcore punk to hip hop, from trip hop to folk rock. I listened to a lot of heavier music like grunge and nu-metal when I was growing up, and got really into punk rock when I was a teenager, but I’ve mellowed out a bit since then and listen to a lot of milder and more experimental forms like shoegaze and ambient techno these days.

The Metronome:  Who is your favorite musical artist? Why?

Mr. Urbankowski:  I know that it’s a cliche answer, but it’s hard to pick just one, and my response would probably depend on my mood. I’ve been listening to a lot of the industrial band HEALTH recently, but my all-time favorite musical artist would probably be either Godspeed You! Black Emperor or My Bloody Valentine.

The Metronome:  One thing, I like about you as a teacher is your sense of humor. Why do you think teachers need a good sense of humor?

Mr. Urbankowski:  I think it’s important to have a good sense of humor about life in general, but teachers have to deal with so many serious situations that taking any and every opportunity to laugh becomes a matter of survival. School is stressful enough, and I truly believe that the best teachers are the ones that make learning enjoyable, which usually requires a good sense of humor.

The Metronome:  What do you like most about teaching?

Mr. Urbankowski:  My favorite thing about teaching is interacting with my students. Teaching is certainly a science, but it’s also a form of art in that it often requires unique and creative ways of communicating information, and that’s the part that I really enjoy – getting to know my students and figuring out how they learn.

The Metronome:  Where did you get your degree for teaching?

Mr. Urbankowski:  I got my teaching degree from Montclair State University, but before that I received my Bachelors degree in Political Science and History from Rutgers University, and my Masters degree in Political Science from NYU.

The Metronome:  What were your interests as a child?

Mr. Urbankowski:  My interests as a child were pretty typical – I liked hanging out with my friends, playing sports like baseball and football, riding my bike, playing video games, watching television, listening to music, etc. I was a very active and social kid, but my parents worked a lot and I often had to stay home to take care of my younger brother, so I took every opportunity I could to get out of the house and explore my surrounding.

The Metronome:  We hear you like to travel.  What foreign countries have you been to?

Mr. Urbankowski:  I’ve been traveling since I was a baby so I’m not sure that I can come up with a definitive list of every foreign country I’ve ever been to, but I’ll try my best: Poland, the Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Jamaica, Portugal, England, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and Japan.

The Metronome:  What was your favorite country you visited and why?

Mr. Urbankowski:  My favorite country that I’ve visited would have to be Iceland – from its countless natural wonders like waterfalls and hot springs and glaciers to Reykjavik’s beautiful architecture to its friendly and intelligent people to its unique culture and history – I always seem to discover some new sense of inner peace and fulfillment every time I visit. I’ve been to Iceland three times already so I guess I just can’t get enough of it!

The Metronome:  What is your favorite teaching memory?

Mr. Urbankowski:  I don’t think that I have a single favorite teaching memory because my favorite part of teaching is watching each of my students progress and learn and succeed in their own unique ways, although chaperoning a field trip to the U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama was pretty exciting!

The Metronome:  What is the most difficult part of your job?

Mr. Urbankowski:  The most difficult part of teaching is definitely losing my students every year. I love all of my students as if they were my own so it’s always hard to let go!


The Metronome would like to thank Mr. Urbankowski for taking the time to talk to us about the many interests that keep him laughing and making a difference in his students’ lives.