Hawker Brownlow Education


Steven Wolk


Besides baseball, his passion was (and still is) photography. At
around ten years old, he started roaming the streets, alleys, and parks
of his neighborhood taking pictures by the thousands. Because it was the
age of film (do you remember film?), he built darkrooms in his basement
and by high school was staying up late to print his pictures. In fact,
Steve says that photography prepared him for teaching and curriculum
design more than anything, because he learned to critique and examine
the world through the lens of a camera. Later, when he studied
photography and art in college, he learned how a photographer does not
simply record reality but creates it -- just like good teachers do with

Steve fell into teaching accidentally. Needing a job, he applied to
be a teacher's aide but was instead offered a job as a full-time
"building sub." With some trepidation he took the job and soon fell in
love with teaching, especially with middle schoolers and their energy,
passion, and naive confidence. Tap into that, and miracles happen.

Following nine years of teaching every grade from third to eighth,
Steve is now a professor of teacher education at Northeastern Illinois
University in Chicago. He teaches primarily in the graduate programs, as
well as a course on young adult fiction. Steve has also done consulting
work in the Chicago Public Schools, presented nationally, been
published in many leading education journals, and conducted teacher
workshops on literacy, literature, and social studies. Besides Caring Hearts & Critical Minds: Literature, Inquiry, and Social Responsibility, Steve has written Being Good and A Democratic Classroom, which won the James Britton Award from the Conference on English Education of the National Council of Teachers of English.