What made you want to become a teacher? I always wanted to be a teacher. I never had any desire to be anything else.
I grew up going to Lutheran schools and in eighth grade, our teacher left before the end of the year. The replacement teacher only lasted six days. My dad, who was also the principal of the school, ended up teaching my class for the rest of the year. I decided that I wanted to become an eighth grade teacher because that year had been so crazy for me and I wanted to give eighth graders a stable environment.
I was drawn to teach in Lutheran schools because during my own Lutheran education, I saw the impact that Lutheran schools have on kids’ lives. Not everyone at the Lutheran elementary school I attended was Lutheran, but the families saw the benefits of being at a Christian school.
Was there a teacher growing up that inspired you, and why? I was definitely inspired by my dad who was the principal at my elementary school and my teacher for part of eighth grade. My dad really loved the kids he was working with. He was always hoping to teach them something that they could apply to their entire lives. Some high school teachers also really stand out to me. I really admire their passion for the subject that they taught.
What do you especially like teaching within your subject matter? I especially love teaching polynomials.
What did you miss the most about teaching in person during the stay-at-home order? I missed the relationships built with the students. During quarantine, we mostly focused on getting the lessons done. When we’re together in the classroom, it is easier to teach the students because you learn their personalities and their likes and dislikes.
I missed doing activities together and group work. As a math teacher, I love Pi Day but we never got to celebrate it. I also was planning on doing a March Madness theme in my classroom, but that didn’t happen either.
I missed the end of the year activities and traditions with the eighth graders. It was sad that their older siblings got to do fun things at the end of the year, but this year’s graduating class did not get a class trip or recognition dinner. I did transfer some of the traditions over to Zoom and Mrs. Franklin, Mr. Benedict and I visited each eighth grader at the end of the year which was really special.
What is the best advice you’ve received about teaching? My dad taught me that kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. You can know a lot about a subject and be a great teacher, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t care about your students. When students see that you care, they will be more interested in what you have to say. There will also be less behavioral problems and more engagement with the subject when the teacher has their students’ best interest in mind.
What are you most looking forward to at the start of the school year? I am excited to build meaningful relationships with the students.
What do you like about St. John’s? I like that not all of the students and families are Lutheran and that’s okay. St. John’s still welcomes and accepts everyone. I love that I can talk about my faith to my students. My prayer for these kids is that they will create a firm foundation in Christ.
I love the opportunity to minister to God’s children. My prayer is that God will use me with my students. I am thankful for the continued opportunity to serve God as a teacher to these kids.
I love that at St. John’s, you‘re part of a family. I hope people feel safe, loved, and nurtured while they are here.