10 Questions With Mr. Benes

Daisy Lehman and Claire Guttormson


Lehman: Hey, good morning.

Benes: Oh hi guys, how are you?

Lehman: I’m good. How about you?

Benes: I’m doing wonderful. It’s Friday. I was going to go make copies, but do you guys want to talk first?

Lehman: Yeah, we want to ask you some questions.

Benes: Oh, sure!

Lehman: What is your favourite movie that documents an important moment in history?

Benes: I think, first of all, I tend to gravitate towards movies that are at least, like, reasonably historically accurate. So like, I like Glory, and Lincoln was excellent. I think 13 days about the Cuban Missile Crisis. I don’t know if I’m supposed to say Hamilton, I’m I supposed to say Hamilton because I thought it was good.

Lehman: That works.

Benes: But it has… whatever. Hamilton was fine.

Lehman: What is your favourite period of history to teach?

Benes: I’ve always enjoyed teaching about the 1950s and 60s, you know lots of turmoil and upheaval and you know, certainly the modern Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War years, but I think it’s fascinating and there’s so much that went on in those two decades and really important to our understanding of how we got to where we’re at today.

Lehman: What’s an unpopular opinion that you have?

Benes: Unpopular opinion… I feel like, musically… like I know, I think Mr Guse is gonna kill me for this one. Like, Dave Matthews Band: No good, just not good. Yeah, he’s really gonna be upset. So some of mine tend to be about maybe music or things that I sometimes know that people really like and I just don’t get it, but hey, to each their own right.

Lehman: What’s the biggest misconception about history teachers?

Benes: Oh, no. Maybe that we’re overly dry or nerdy, or that it’s like this obsession with us, where, I mean obviously I think if we’re teaching it, we think it’s important, and it is, but it really, it goes beyond just understanding things of that moment. I think that one of the other misconceptions is that we know everything about anything that ever happened in history, which is totally false. That would just be like, assuming you know anybody who teaches anything knows everything about that entire subject. I’ve had people come to me and ask me questions about things like, I don’t really know, and they’re shocked by that. So, there is a limit to what we can possibly know and teach our students.

Lehman: What’s the last show you binged?

Benes: Actually right now, we’re, I was trying to think about previous this, but we’re bingeing, watching, Squid Game right now which is, oh my god, like crazy. I’m trying to think before that, I mean this is sort of become a way of life, right, where we, you guys don’t know, the shows we used to binge watch we only could watch one episode a week and now they dump everything at you at once so yeah right now it’s Squid Game.

Lehman: What episode?

Benes: We’re… I don’t know how many episodes are in the season, I was going to say halfway, we’re on like five, I think. So we’re kind of into it and it’s starting to pick up. Obviously.

Lehman: Do you recommend the keto diet?

Benes: Yeah, I did keto a couple years ago, I lost a lot of weight in a short period of time. Would I recommend it, is it healthy, is it good for you? Probably not. I just, for a month, that’s all I did was eat like red meat and cheese and eggs. You’re supposed to eat fruits and, or not so much fruits, but vegetables and things like that, but I couldn’t do it. So probably not. I didn’t really feel great and my energy levels were low, I tried to do it again last year and gave up very quickly.

Lehman: You don’t have to say who, but do you have a favourite student?

Benes: I don’t think I have a favourite student but I think what ends up happening is you naturally just become closer to some kids more than others and sort of build relationships that last even after their time here at West. You know, I’ve been to students, weddings and sadly some, some funerals of former students and still have many close relationships. So I think, it’s not so much about a favourite student but just really people that you do end up connecting with and really end up building lifetime relationships with.

Lehman: What’s your favourite fast food restaurant and your go to order?

Benes: I’m a big fan of Burger King actually. If you’ve had those little, not the big but the little onion rings, those are really really good. So usually I’ll just get like three double cheeseburgers and those onion rings, and I’m set. That’s still my, I mean I like others, Wendy’s is really good whatever, but like Burger King is it.

Lehman: What’s the most midwestern thing about you?
Benes: I think we don’t even like, think about it, but being asked that question, I think we all have accents that we are sometimes unaware of. But I find myself slipping into it with certain words and phrases, so I think just the way I speak. Oftentimes when you travel around the country and you’re gonna interact with people from other regions, like this happened to us many, many years ago in Florida we were talking to some people and they thought we were from Canada. Because as strange or unusual as that southern accent sounded to us, we sounded just as strange to them, I guess.

Lehman: And last but not least, what is your favourite artist and song?

Benes: Gosh. So, this one’s for Mr Mateske, because we were at this concert in, I believe the summer of 1993. So that would be, you should listen to it, it’s odd and kind of weird but it’s called Queen of my Double Wide Trailer and it’s by Sammy Kershaw… You’ve never heard of it. Yeah, give it a listen. Yeah.

Lehman: Okay, great, thank you so much.

Benes: Thank you, Bye guys.

Lehman: Bye!