Caleb Van Otterloo ’17
Caleb Van Otterloo

More than a lane change

A former Red Raider football player and now a middle school teacher and coach, Caleb Van Otterloo '11 is picking up the pace of his career by earning an M.Ed. in teacher leadership.

My mom was a teacher, and I remember when I was a kid towards the end of the summer I'd go with her to help get her classroom ready for school to start. We'd get the desks organized and put up the bulletin boards. I could always see how much being a teacher meant to her, I think that's part of what motivated me to want to teach. I also knew it would be a great way for me to stay close to athletics; which I've always been passionate about.

I went to Northwestern College as an undergrad and played football. It was an amazing experience, and I knew that when my playing days were over coaching was something I wanted to do. Being a teacher was the perfect fit so that's why I chose that career. I've always felt that it's important to strive to be the best at whatever I'm doing so going back to school for my masters and teacher leadership is a great way to do that.

Northwestern's program was an obvious choice. The fact that it's entirely online means I don't have to be pulled away from my teaching or coaching, and the professor's here give you so much support. Sometimes you hear about online programs and picture this very impersonal isolated experience. That's not at all what it's like at Northwestern. They want to have a relationship with you from the very start and in the end I know it's going to help me do an even better job with my students and players.

Everybody has that favorite teacher or coach they remember from school. By cherishing the relationships I have with these kids and inspiring them to do their best, I hope that I can be that leader for some of them.