It’s her first year teaching at Niles West and Vrunda Hingu opens each class with a huge smile and a welcome to her students. She stands in the middle of the classroom and urges everyone to open their Chromebooks for the daily bell-ringer question. Bell-ringer questions in Hingu’s class can range from how a student is feeling that day to what they learned in class the day before. Hingu teaches Civics and regular and honors U.S. history classes.
Hingu’s initial impression of Niles West was the outstanding dedication and rigor of its students. “I think that the students here are very dedicated to their academics, I think that they care a lot, too. And I think that students here want to be very involved,”Hingu said. Hingu feels that it’s important for teachers to recognize how hard their students work not just in the classroom, but also in the other activities they do.
As a high school student, Hingu was an ultra-involved student and was even on the cross country and track teams. “I would turn everything in and I would go talk to my teachers during free periods, yeah I asked a lot of questions,” Hingu said. “When I got to high school I noticed that I was closest with my social studies teachers. I felt very comfortable visiting them during off periods and going to talk to them about fun stuff or personal things.”
Hingu’s social studies and history teachers were big role-models for her, but she still approaches teaching with a modern outlook. “I feel like I don’t do things the way that my high school teachers did and I’m trying to change [teaching styles] and do more things that are more modern teaching practices,” Hingu said.
Going into her freshman year of college at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, she knew she wanted to study secondary education (9th-12th grade) in social studies and history. She also studied how to teach students whose second language is English.
Hingu had known teaching was the right path before she went into college, but also considered other avenues. “By the time college came around, I was like, no, nothing else seems right. Law school doesn’t seem right and taking a business path didn’t seem right. So I just wanted this [to teach],” Hingu said.
Outside of the classroom, Hingu likes to explore Chicago and spend time with her friends. She also enjoys reading and binge watching Netflix shows when she has the time. Some notable mentions include the TV show “Outer Banks” and the book series “Harry Potter.”
“I like to work out when I get the chance after school if I’m not tired. I like doing yoga. I just like exercising. I love walking by the lake in the city” Hingu said.
There’s no one who loves Hingu more than her students. For junior Evelyn Herbert, honors U.S. history class is somethings she always looks forward to. “Ms. Hingu is a super energetic but also down to earth teacher. She clearly cares a ton about her students and is always asking how we are. She gives us a place to vent,” Herbert said.
Mila Mitrovic feels lucky to have Hingu as a teacher. “She always brings energy into the classroom, which makes students motivated to participate during class. Ms. Hingu gives her students equal respect and teaches history very well,” Mitrovic said.
At the end of every class, Hingu likes to wish her students a great rest of their day and good luck on their homework as they rush on to their next class. Just like she opens class with a smile, she often ends with one too.