Relaxed and laidback is the atmosphere in the office of Andrew Katz. There are no books on his office desk. Only one black notebook, his daily planner, and a few sheets lay under the notebook on the right hand corner on his desk. Hangs directly above his desk is a weird looking painting and a poster of the Dawson College Web magazine, SPACE .
Before starting the interview, Andrew rolled back his chair and slouched to get himself comfortable. He took his water bottle in his hands and was prepared to answer my series of questions.
Katz is the oldest of four children born to parents who work in medicine. Before becoming a creative writing teacher, Katz first started studying medicine. “I started reading when I was really young in Elementary school and I was really into it,” Katz explained. “In high school, I started studying the sciences and afterwards I just stuck with the same topic in university.” After getting his degree in medicine, Katz realized it wasn’t really what he wanted to do. “I just kind of knew it wasn’t for me,” he said. Katz went back to school and got a masters degree in Creative Writing and English at Concordia University. Katz explains he wasn’t the only one to switch fields from his family. “At first, my three other siblings and I were all in medicine. I was the first to switch fields and my sisters and brother followed afterwards.”
After graduating from Creative writing and English, Katz applied to Dawson College as an English and Creative writing teacher. Katz chose teaching because he worked to share his passion for writing with students. Katz takes a little pause and looks up at the ceiling to think of his answer clearly to explain how he could describe his passions for teaching and creative writing in general. “I love the beauty of a well written sentence. I love a well-written piece of work; it takes you to another world. I think as a teacher it’s important to show your passion for writing and reading. That’s why I do it, to show my passion.”
Besides teaching, Katz has a few side projects going on. One of Katz’s main interests is writing children’s books. Katz has even written a few children’s books himself and has self-published them. Though not yet well know, but Katz has his own personal fans. “I took on the challenge of writing a book for each one of my nieces and nephews,” Katz said. “Right now, I’m seeing how it works with my nieces and nephews, but later on it would be something I’m highly considering doing.” Katz was highly influenced by authors like Arthur Miller and Alice Munro. However, he said that being a teacher his students inspire him the most. “My students inspire me as well. I love to see their creativity coming out in their work, that’s definitely a huge influence for me.”
Katz is also working with the Dawson College Web magazine SPACE (Sciences Participating with Arts and Culture and Education). Katz is the co-founder of this web magazine. Each year, the web magazine has a theme. This year the theme is collisions. “One of the best parts of being a teacher here,” Katz said, “is participating in SPACE.” Space is a web magazine where any student can participate whether in writing or artwork. The magazine is a mixture of art and science put together. “The main idea of Space is that students don’t have to label themselves as a art or science student when they give their work to Space,” said Katz with a little nod, “It allows them to express themselves in an open environment.” SPACE web magazine also has events and exhibitions that take place as well. For example, the latest event was the display of the paintings and drawings of Dil Hildebrand. Hildebrand also was there to speak about his paintings. “It’s not just a web magazine, there’s more to it.”
A part from writing and teaching Katz has a few hobbies outside his field. Surprisingly, Katz hobbies don’t go with his nonchalant vibe that he gives off. “I love to swing dance and I have been swing dancing for many years now,” Katz said with a smile. Katz takes a pause to really think if he fully answered the question. “Ah yes,” he continues, “I’m also a competitive swimmer and I’m really interested in psychology and the mind.”
Finally, I decided to ask Katz if he would ever leave teaching to pursue a writing career. “Hmm, that’s a good question,” he said. He takes a pause and takes a sip of water. “If I were to do that I would only take six months off from teaching,” Katz said, “ I now enjoy teaching as much as I enjoy writing. I wouldn’t quit.”
Peer edited by: Cristina Sanza
Word Document: Andrew Katz.