Schuyler Sterk
English teacher, Liberty High School, North Liberty, Iowa
Schuyler Sterk

Teaching with love

As a high school senior, Schuyler decided to turn her favorite school subject into a teaching career. When she came to Northwestern, she discovered faculty who shared wise counsel and real-world experience. No aspect of teaching was too insignificant to be covered. Schuyler says her professors taught her everything from communicating with her students’ parents to grading with compassion.


What are the strengths of Northwestern’s English department?

The greatest strength of the department is its faculty. The professors I had throughout my time at NWC inspired me and cared about me so deeply—I wouldn’t be the person and teacher I am today without them. They didn’t just prepare me for the world of teaching; they also helped me become a stronger, more empathetic follower of Christ and lover of God’s people.

The English teaching major requires 100 practicum hours prior to student teaching. What did you appreciate most about that?

The most important thing I gained was the experience of simply standing in front of students and teaching them something. It’s crazy how different it is to go from planning lessons to presenting them, and practicum provided the opportunity to make that jump in a safe environment with actual students.

Where do you see yourself in the next five or 10 years?

I’ve thought about becoming a school counselor or an administrator, and some days, that feels like the right “next step.” Other days, I can’t imagine leaving the classroom because I love working with my students so much. Regardless, I plan to get my master’s degree in education and continue to work in a school setting, aiming to be a person who makes students feel safe, known and loved.

What’s one of your favorite memories from NWC?

Each weekend, my friends and I found ourselves playing late-night board games, driving to get pancakes at IHOP, or stargazing in the country fields. While those moments didn’t feel noteworthy at the time, they are the memories I look back on most fondly. 

How did Northwestern prepare you to lead a life of significance?

Because of my time at Northwestern, I view the world and my role in it in a different light. I don’t see my job as a way to teach kids how to write the perfect paper or analyze a character from a book; rather, I look at it as an opportunity to get to know the individual people I teach and show them that their voice and their story matters.


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