The New Motorcycle Driving Teacher at Westminster

Q & A With One of This Year’s First-time Faculty, Mr. Wolfe.


anagi pieris

Mr. Wolfe enjoys riding his motorcycle to school on sunny days.

This year Ken Wolfe is teaching 10th grade Biblical Ethics at Westminster. In the past he has taught storytelling classes at UMSL as well as various grammar classes in a score of public school districts.

Q: What’s your favorite part of teaching?

A: “[M]y favorite part of teaching is getting to know really cool people before they understand how cool they are. ‘Cause there are some amazing people I’ve had a hand in educating. It’s just neat to see where they’re going, what they’ve done.”

Q: On the first day of school I noticed while walking into your class, that you have actually decorated everything with a lot of unusual, thought-provoking contraptions/posters. Can you explain to me just one object in the room: why the picture of a random, white-haired man on the back wall?

A: “Karl is up there; he’s an old family friend… one of those people you don’t not remember knowing. [W]e get along in most ways, except that he is really strong in his opinion that I am wasting my time in teaching scholars, teaching kids…He will say to me that this generation…refuses to think for themselves, listens to only what the celebrities say, they’re all emotionally based and not rationally based, they are totally happy to sit around and be given things, all that stuff. [He] says that your generation is going to be a drain on society and I’m wasting my time. And I tell him, you don’t know the kids like I know the kids, you don’t understand…And he disregards all of that. We almost got into a physical fight once…And the reason I [hung his picture] up there is for two reasons. One is that I want to show the kids that in the culture we’re in right now, you can disagree passionately and fundamentally with someone…and still be civil. I mean, this is my life’s work, that he is attacking and still, I mean, I love Karl. I do. This one area we really don’t get along, but I respect him… And that’s unusual in our culture right now. I mean if you disagree with someone, you have to write them off and I want the scholars to know that that’s not the case… And the other thing I want my scholars to realize is that the world…tells you that you’re wonderful, and that you’ve got so much to give… And that may be so, but I also think a lot of them are like Karl, you know, who say: when I was growing up, we did things right, what’s the matter with you? And I think it’s always been that way, you know, one generation denigrates the next one coming up, but [the students] need to know that Karls are out there. [W]hen they blow off their work in order to do something wasteful or if they don’t think [rationally]…they’re making Karl right. So I put him up there so the scholars realize: they don’t want Karl to be right about them.”

Q: If you could, what advice would you say to your high school self?

A: “In short, God is sovereign— so trust God—but still, floss. ‘Cause there’s some stuff that’s his responsibility and some stuff that’s mine and I can’t ignore mine.”


Q: Who was your greatest, most prominent role model growing up?

A: “For me, in growing up…Hawkeye Pierce from the show from “Mash”, from the show about the Korean Wars and doctors in mobile army surgical hospitals…[This surgeon]…I just thought was the coolest—and actually I don’t know if I modeled my life after him—but I really wanted to be him.”

“[Hawkeye Pierce] was funny and he was, you know, really gentle with people he genuinely cared about and stood up against the people he thought were wrong, but with satire and a kind of acerbic humor. And there were a lot of things that now [when I watch] the character, I realize were not admirable; he was a womanizer…he drank a lot. [But] he was very funny and very witty and he had a good heart. And [the show] showed it a lot: how he dealt with some of the characters who looked up to him, he was very cool with.”

Q: What is the most important thing you want the WCA community to know about you?

A: “I went to Westminster in 7th and 8th grade and I had a hard time at Westminster, because I was insecure as a seventh grader and I didn’t know who I could trust. The hard thing about a Christian school is that people are people and people, being people, are sinful, but that everybody knows what to say. They know what to say, they know how to look, to look Christian. So when I was here, it was difficult to tell who was friend and who was foe…I come back after forty years and I want to be a— not the—but a, Hawkeye Pierce this school. I want to be good at what I do and trustworthy relationally and a model of how Jesus can redeem a weirdo.”

Q: How long have you been a teacher?

A: “This is year thirty for me.”

Q: Have you always known you wanted to be a teacher?

A: “You know what’s funny: I didn’t want to be a teacher. I wanted to be on a radio show; I wanted to be a disc jockey…I was actually a communications major at Baylor University, and as I was driving home from Waco, which is a thirteen hour drive, and it was late, and I was listening to the radio as I was in Oklahoma… And there was a guy on, you know, three or four stations and they were playing music and I realized: I’m gonna have to play music for cows in the middle of the night for years before I get a market and a slot and actually make money! And I was in love with a girl at the time, and I thought: there is no way I can raise a family with this ephemeral job. So I married the girl, which was good, and I started praying and asking God: what can I do? And he had a bunch of people, probably eight or nine people in the summer tell me, ‘you try teaching, you would probably be good at teaching’. So I stepped in, and it’s been a good gig ever since.


The Westminster community is excited to have Mr. Wolfe join the staff and as a student myself I am excited to learn form him!