In a world of instantaneous communication through media and electronics, we are immersed within language. However, there are special, hard working people whose job is to filter the noise of our everyday lives and assist students, like us, to interpret and understand the language that constantly surrounds us.

 

This is why we have teachers. They are our shepherds to guide us through the first eighteen years of our lives and prepare us to live within the real world.  

 

The world of language and communication is one of the most important subjects that can be taught. Without teachers of literature, each generation would have a different capacity for interpersonal communication.

 

Within Prairie High School, there are many hardworking women and men who show up everyday to guide their students through the labyrinth of reading and writing.

 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “public school systems will employ 3.2 million full time teachers in the fall of 2017”.

 

And these people deserve recognition.

 

Within Prairie High School, Mrs. Swartzendruber teaches English 10, English 11, as well as Speech and Drama. Mrs. Burns teaches AP Language and Composition as well as English 11. There are many additional teachers within the College Community School District dedicated to the pursuit of literature and who consistently lay the foundation to build strong students.

 

The path to earning the title of an English teacher is not as straightforward as one may realize. Mrs. Swartzendruber went to UNI and graduated with a major in communications, theater arts, and English teaching.

 

Ironically, in May of 1993, she moved to Kansas City and ended up within a career that had very little correlation with her degree. She secured a job in banking for ten years.

 

However, throughout Mrs. Swartzendruber’s childhood, “I had the privilege of being able to spend six years with (a particular teacher) at least one period a day and she was my inspiration.” This teacher “made such an impact on me, that I think this is what I want to do.”

 

But in regards to banking, Mrs. Swartzendruber realizes that “the fact that I went down a different path for ten years was something that I know without a doubt I needed to do”. Mrs. Swartzendruber believes that “it’s been a choice to commit to education.”

Mrs. Burns was an eager student before she became an English teacher. She is currently working on her Masters degree and will obtain this degree by the end of this summer. “I went to the University of Iowa and I knew that I wanted to be an English teacher right away.” Mrs. Burns said. “I was ultimately able to graduate early because I just really wanted to be in a classroom.”

 

As students, we are immensely fortunate to have educators like Mrs. Burns and Mrs. Swartzendruber, two people who have both dedicated their lives to education and furthering student’s understanding of English.

 

*Stay Tuned Next Week for the Second Part of the English Teacher Feature Series*

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One comment

  1. Megan,
    I love the approach to this piece as part of an ongoing series of stories addressing the topic. This is an excellent way to showcase teachers here at PHS and it is nice to present this information for the student audience you are intending to reach. I would love to see this approach reach out to students and feature them as a part of a series in the future. You present a nice balance between research and the contribution of your interview subject. I look forward to reading the other stories to come in this series!

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