Ms. Guida Retires After 25 Years
By GIGI TSUI, WAN HUA RONG, and HONG WEI CHEN
After 25 years at Midwood, Wendy Guida, an English teacher and Midwood alumni archivist, retired during this year’s winter recess.
“I look exactly the same [from 1983 to 2018], please put that on the paper,” said Ms. Guida with a big smile.
Ms. Guida was born and raised in Brooklyn. During her childhood, she lived on Ocean Avenue and Avenue I.
“I have lived in a lot of neighborhoods, and I love Brooklyn,” she said.
Ms. Guida was a student at Midwood and graduated in 1983.
“I loved Midwood when I was a student,” she said.
After graduating, she attended SUNY Albany for her undergraduate degree, but her mind wasn’t yet set on becoming a teacher.
“I didn’t know I was going to teach right out of college,” Ms. Guida said. “I didn’t take any education classes in college. But I did some other jobs for a few years and realized I needed to do something that felt important.”
She was inspired by her passion for reading and her high school English teacher, Mr. Sarney.
“He taught AP English, and he was funny and interesting,” Ms. Guida said. “He really helped me become a good writer and exposed me to books that I just loved. He opened up a whole world to me. I felt familiar with Midwood, and I had a lot of experience here, so I was lucky that there was a job available.”
Ms. Guida started teaching at Midwood in 1992.
In 1993, she met Mr. Eugene Resnick, a social studies teacher, when they were having lunch in Brooklyn College. They became friends and decided to create a coordinated English-social studies class for the 10th grade, for which Ms. Guida would teach English and Mr. Resnick would teach history. For example, the students read Animal Farm during a unit on the Russian Revolution, Shakespeare during the Renaissance, and Ancient Greek plays during Ancient Greece. They also planned projects and wrote curricula together.
“That was a really exciting program,” said Mr. Resnick. “She had them for English and I had them for global. We had those kids for one and a half hours.”
Ms. Guida said, “We would follow along what they did for the whole year. It was so wonderful.”
Mrs. Danielle Rochford, also an English teacher, has known Ms. Guida for six years. They team taught together.
“Ms. Guida is a wonderful person to be around,” Mrs. Rochford said. “She is so knowledgeable, and when you speak with her, you can really feel her love for literature and her desire to expose students to it.”
Ms. Guida also works with the Midwood Alumni Association, which gives out scholarships, helps alumni plan reunions, and will soon support an SAT prep program. Ms. Guida also worked to preserve Midwood history in the Alumni Archive.
“There are things that are part of Midwood’s history that weren’t being preserved or collected,” said Ms. Guida. “The school opened in 1941. Some of the early graduates passed away and had Midwood things that they wanted to give a home to.”
Ms.Guida was also an advisor for SING! in the 1990s, the advisor for the Women’s Issues Club and the knitting club, and the advisor for Open Doors.
“Open Doors is a program in which I got to take eight seniors to see six Broadway shows throughout the year for free,” said Ms. Guida.
Sheldon Best was one of the students Ms. Guida took in the first Open Doors program. He came back last year to visit Ms. Guida and discuss his career with her class.
“I’m so proud of him because I know he has earned everything,” said Ms. Guida. “He’s done theater, he’s done movies and TV. I just see him getting better and better at what he does.”
Tiffany Pan ’20 and Brianna Sohan ’20 are two of Ms. Guida’s former students.
Pan said, “Ms. Guida taught me that class could actually be fun.”
Sohan said, “Her lessons are fun, and she has a nice personality. Sometimes, talking to her, I feel like I’m talking to another student.”
“She was always very energetic,” said Temo Muladze ’19. “She’s makes you happy to come to class.”
After 25 years, Ms. Guida still has some ideas that she hopes will benefit the future students of Midwood.
“I wish that we could start later in the day and also have more time to do extracurricular activities,” Ms. Guida said. “I feel like kids sometimes can’t join clubs because they don’t have free periods. I also wish that we could take more trips and see more of New York because you guys live in such an amazing city, and our students don’t get exposed to all the things that they could.”
During her retirement, Ms. Guida plans on writing a book.
“It’s a literary biography about a writer who was pretty successful at the beginning of her life,” Ms. Guida said. “All of her papers were sealed away in California at Stanford and Berkeley. This past summer I went to see them. I want more people to know about her life.”
“What I have always loved about teaching is that I always felt like a beginner,” Ms. Guida said. “Even as I gained experience, I also felt like every semester was brand new because you have different students, different classes you’re teaching, and so you are always learning and trying to come up with new ideas. It never got boring.”
“In some ways, I feel like I just started,” she said. “I’m just moving on to the next chapter.”