Coal City teacher wants students to become productive members of society

Dave Sinkular a teacher and coach at Coal City High School

Dave Sinkular wants each of his students to leave his class with more than what they knew when they walked in.

“I hope my students learn to think, to not necessarily read the headline of a story – read the story,” Sinkular said. “If they don’t know something, look it up. Don’t just say you don’t know. You have technology in your pocket. You have the capability to answer anything.”

Sinkular teaches numerous courses, including AP history, AP human geography, sociology, psychology, U.S history and civics. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in history from North Central College and his master’s from Governors State University.

Dave Sinkular, a teacher at Coal City High School grades papers.

Teaching was not Sinkular’s original career choice. Initially he hoped to study architecture. His uncles on his mother’s side owned a construction company.

“I took all of the drafting classes and by the time I was a senior, I realized it wasn’t the path I was best suited for and I was interested in something else,” he said. “I had a lot of really great teachers who inspired me throughout high school to move over to this field.”

His passion for teaching shines through in class. Life Happens has the students separated in different groups with differing social economic status. Sinkular hands students various cards in class, each with a different life situation. Some cards can be good, such as a $2,000 tax refund. Most are unavoidable life events, such as paying for a child’s birthday party, hail damage, or a $15,000 tax bill.

The game was played in sociology class to teach students about socioeconomic backgrounds and how to problem solve different life events.

“He is an amazing teacher. All of the kids look up to him and respect him. He has a great deal of respect at the high school,” Coal City High School Principal Jennifer Kenney said. “He is also a speech coach and he has come in a lead them to so many successes. He had built that program. Students love to take his classes.”

Sinkular was forced to make a few adjustments to his teaching style when the pandemic hit.

“I had to adjust to the fact that I am not the sole person that everyone is paying attention to at that point during class. There was the possibility for a distraction at anytime,” he said.

Dave Sinkular, a teacher at Coal City High School plays life happens with his students.

One of the most important aspects of Sinkular’s class is discussion. He said he appreciates having an open dialogue with his students instead of standing in front of the class lecturing.

“I tell my class, right at the beginning, that this class will be more enjoyable if you are talking with me, rather than me talking at you,” Sinkular said.

His goal is to ensure each of his students will go forward to become productive members of society. And, hopefully, they will retain some information learned from him.

“I want them to know that information is available to them and in order to be a cognizant member of society, you need to be knowledgeable about the issues in your community,” Sinkular said, “and determine how you feel about those issues, so you are able to move forward and become a productive member of society and do the things that are a part of good social studies, civics, history, government and all of the things that roll into that.”