Getting it write

LZ resource aide’s journey from advertising to education

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Photo by and used with permission of Rose Weismann

Rose Weismann, literacy resource center aide, working at her home office. In the past few months, she says she has been “busier now than ever” as she helps students navigate the difficulties of digital learning.

Every student’s experienced it before; the anxiety of a deadline, the pressure of a coherent thesis, the worry of a big summative essay that could make or break your grade. You could procrastinate, you could have a meltdown, or you could head to the Literacy Center, where you will find Rose Weismann, Literacy Center resource aide, who would be more than happy to help you out.

“I really enjoy working with teenagers and enlightening them in areas they don’t comprehend,” Weismann said. “I have two brothers with really bad learning disabilities, so I know what it’s like for somebody to just not get something. So [when a student comes to me for help], I try to break down complicated concepts into language that’s easier to understand, and I explain it to them in the same way I would explain it to my brothers. I take a lot of joy and a lot of pride in being able to help kids see their self-worth and feel good about themselves as their skills improve.”

Aside from helping students out in the Literacy Center with English assignments, Weismann also spends much of her time running the Apex program, a credit recovery program for high school students at risk of not graduating, teaching grammar boot camps, and tutoring students who need extra support. But although Weismann says she has now found her place in the Literacy Center, “which is really undervalued [as the] only really quiet place in the entire high school,” she has tried many careers throughout her lifetime.

“My first paycheck was actually from 20th Century Fox,” Weismann recalled. “I was an extra in a movie back when I was in eighth grade. It was The Fury, from 1978. My dad worked for the city of Chicago and he was asked to come be an extra in the movie so he asked my brother and I to also participate and we were like ‘alright.’ I didn’t know we’d be getting good money for it, but I got to ride on a [spinning] amusement park ride for like 3 hours. There were also lots of cool people in it, but honestly? It wasn’t a great movie.”

Weismann may have started out in the film industry, but that was not where she ended up. In college, she studied psychology, though she says she “had some reservation about going out and doing fieldwork, and I felt like that wasn’t my niche.” After some reflection, she ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in communications. 

“I’ve always loved writing,” Weismann said. “Whenever the test was a big essay instead [of a standard exam], I was like ‘yesss,’ because I was much stronger at that and I really enjoyed it. [Also,] ever since I started sending letters as a first-grader to my long-distance grandmother in Florida, writing has been very important to me, so I wanted to go into communications and advertising because you know, you pursue what you’re drawn to.”

With a degree in communications under her belt, Weismann began working in retail for Madigan’s Department Store in Chicago, where she was the sole copywriter, wrote store ads and radio commercials, hired talent, and oversaw production.

But before she became the Mrs. Weismann that LZ students know today, she had one more slightly unorthodox job – being an advertising assistant to a Lubavitcher, a Hasidic Jewish rabbi.

“I had been networking for a few months and somebody reached out to me, who apparently thought I was Jewish,” Weismann said. “And I told her that I wasn’t, but this woman says ‘no, [the rabbi] knows, but he’d like to meet you because he needs someone to be his assistant.’ So I went and met him […] and I ended up working in the office next to the room where he was running a congregation. As a Catholic person, I learned so much. It was really a fascinating experience; I learned a lot about the culture, met a lot of fascinating people, learned about their faith and their traditions, and realized what a purely devoted people they are to their faith.”

Although she only spent a year in the position, Weismann says that the experience was “truly eye-opening.” 

So eye-opening in fact, that she left advertising soon thereafter to become a high school resource aide. “It wasn’t part of my original plan, but both of my kids went through District 95, I was always involved in our community, I loved writing, and when I saw the job posting, I said, ‘I’m gonna go for this.’ I didn’t want to continue doing the same things I had been doing, so I interviewed and I got hired the same day.”

Today, as she conducts virtual Literacy Center appointments over Zoom, she’s also exploring her other interests in traveling and volunteering as she takes part in the St. Frances de Sales Youth Ministry, writes for her own faith-based blog, “ReflectionsOfOurFaith”, and shares her Catholic religion as a letter writer with a Prison Ministry, a position she has found “very gratifying”. 

But while Weismann says she enjoys staying busy with her hobbies, one of her biggest commitments is still to her job as a resource aide, which she calls “one of the most fulfilling of my roles”. 

And after a lifetime of trying new things and self-improvement, Weismann challenges students to do the same: 

“Especially during these difficult times of E-learning, commit to visiting the Literacy Center three times and see your English grade or your essay skills improve. I see many discouraged students who feel they are terrible writers, [but] I believe all students have the ability to be not only good writers, but to learn to enjoy writing, even essays!”