Teacher of the Month: Sra. Benitez


Photo by Amir-Abbas Yazdi.

Sra. Benitez – one of the most adored teachers in the language department – has earned the title of “Teacher of The Month.”

By Amir Abbas-Yazdi, Assistant Online Editor

Anyone who’s been lucky enough to have him as a teacher, or fortunate enough to even have a conversation with him, knows that Mr. Rosenthal is one of the kindest and friendliest teachers at WCHS. He never fails to engage his students in lessons and always puts a smile on their faces. With 12 years of teaching experience, Mr. Rosenthal is known as one of the best teachers in the social studies department and at WCHS.

Rosenthal grew up in Carroll County, Maryland, and graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park. Just like all other students, when he started his career he was nervous about becoming independent and ultimately becoming an adult. But, because of his experience with beneficial teachers in high school and summers as a camp counselor, he found his calling.

“The reason why I got into teaching is that I have always considered myself to be a life-long learner,” Rosenthal said. “As a result, teaching was a natural fit for both my personality and the things that I loved to do.”

Rosenthal didn’t know what he wanted to do until after college though. Interestingly enough, he initially never looked into becoming a teacher.

“When I first went to [University of] Maryland, I wanted to be a sports journalist,” Rosenthal said. “As time has gone on, my interests have changed a little bit but I still think if I wasn’t a teacher I would be a journalist – only now covering anything from politics to television and movie premiers.” 

Mr. Rosenthal teaches AP NSL now at WCHS, but he has more passions than just learning about the U.S. government, as he additionally teaches Survey of Modern American Culture (SMAC) and the Student Leadership course. His personality and various interests are displayed all over his classroom.

“I like to decorate my room with things that inspire me and are very colorful,” Rosenthal said.  “Whether it’s movie or music posters to pieces of student artwork, I want my room to be both inviting and engaging for students.”

Unfortunately, last year, students could not experience Mr. Rosenthal’s physical presence and stylish classroom. Although that school year was reckless because of online learning due to the pandemic, Rosenthal was simultaneously tending to a personal issue.

“My daughter was born at the beginning of the pandemic so, like many teachers, I spent the entirety of online school attempting to balance my job with raising a child.”

Having an infant in the house during virtual school is a unique experience, but it may have made Mr. Rosenthal a more understanding teacher.

“Throughout a person’s life, there are many moments that shift your perspective and change the way that you view the world,” Rosenthal said. “To me, becoming a father made me realize that even more that everyone is dealing with something outside of the walls of Churchill. The more understanding we can be of those situations, the better off we will all be.”

Coping with baby shenanigans taught Rosenthal to be more empathetic and agreeable, allowing him to connect with his students on a more comfortable level.

“[Like I said], every single person is dealing with something that might not be visible. As a result, it is important to teach with compassion and make sure students know that you want them to succeed. [Also], my students know that I don’t sugarcoat anything and that [I] have high expectations for them.

Rosenthal’s ways of teaching do work, and listening to several of his students will show, second hand, how true this is. Tariq Karama is one of his AP NSL students who definitely believe this.

“[Mr. Rosenthal] is a great teacher that makes learning enjoyable and you [would be] lucky to have him,” Karama said. “The energy he brings to the classroom gets me ready and intrigued for the class.”

Mr. Rosenthal is a warm person and a teacher that students can trust. Despite all the obstacles, Rosenthal is very glad to have the opportunity to be a teacher at WCHS and teach what he loves and hopes that he can leave students with more than just A’s in their report cards.

“While a lawyer might win a case or a doctor might help a patient, a teacher’s impact [on their students] might not show for many years,” Rosenthal said. “[So], I hope that students remember my class as one of positivity, where school was fun and that they started to develop an interest in whatever topic I taught them. Whether that was government or the history of film, I want them to remember me as having a positive impact on them no matter how big or small.”