Learning from the king of Queens


  If someone happens to stumble into an English class that starts with music, five minutes of zen, and an obnoxiously funny dad-joke, they must be in David Wexler’s room. A lawyer-gone English teacher has a rich past and unique perspective on teaching. Born and raised in New York City in the borough of Queens, Wexler attributes a lot of who he is today on his past in the Big Apple.

  “It was a rough childhood, but I learned how to survive,” said Wexler.  Even commuting to and from school was dangerous. “It was a war zone,” said Wexler. This early lifestyle directly impacted his colorful character.

  He always knew that where he lived was not picture perfect, especially with having to share a small space with four sisters. “When I found out I was not having a brother, I cried,” said Wexler with a sarcastic smirk.

  It was not easy, but Wexler wanted so bad to leave and start his own life. “School was my ticket,” he said. His motivation in school pushed him into a successful career.

  Nonetheless, hardships were plentiful. Wexler’s mother struggled with being bipolar. “I never knew what I would come home to,” he said. His mother’s struggle greatly impacted Wexler’s life and continues to influence how he teaches. “You never truly know what is going on in a student’s home,” said Wexler.

  Wexler lived in the city during the 70’s through the 80’s and it looked a lot different than it does now. Saying it changed would be an understatement according to Wexler.

  Despite New York being an ever changing city, its character still earns it its timeless description. “I love teaching English, especially Catcher in the Rye and Great Gatsby, because I lived it,” said Wexler. He could not only recall every bridge, street, and intersection in the novels, but he has walked them himself. “It gives me an advantage,” he said.

  His knowledge and enthusiasm about what he is teaching is contagious. “He is always telling jokes but is a great teacher,” said Grace Burks, sophomore English student.

  Jennah Klein knows Wexler through their local temple. She said, “He always sees me in the hall and greets me with a ‘Hey Klein!’ It just seems like he genuinely cares and is excited to talk to me. He is the same way with all of his students.” According to Klein, you can always count on Wexler to be a friendly face in the hall.

  Intense thinking is a daily occurrence in Wexler’s English classes. When asked what he wants students to walk away with from his class, he simply answers, “How to think.”

Noelle Harff, Guest Reporter

Wexler on the field of his high school with a couple friends. Photo courtesy of David Wexler