Meet the Teacher: Adrianna Burke, Niles Senior High School

Educators are perhaps the greatest population of unsung heroes in Berrien and Cass County. This school year, Leader Publications will publish a weekly spotlight featuring teachers throughout the district, giving the community a chance to get to know the hard-working individuals shaping their children’s lives. Throughout the next school year, their answers will be published in the newspaper that serves each school district.

Name: Adrianna Burke

School: Niles Senior High School

Grades/subjects taught: Middle School and High School Spanish

Where did you attend college? Calvin College

How many years have you been teaching? How many years have you been with your current school? Four full years of teaching, all four in Niles. Currently in my fifth year.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? My mother was a teacher, and I love encouraging students to be the best they can be.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing for fun? I love spending time with family, spending time with my pups, kayaking, running, reading, and listening to music.

What is one thing your students may not know about you? I am borderline afraid of worms and other slimy insects.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Charlotte from “Charlotte’s Web.” Unlike the rest of the barn animals, she didn’t get annoyed with Wilbur. She stood up for him and helped change society in a way for his sake. I aspire to be the person that has patience and stands up for those that may not be able to do so on their own.

When you were a student in the grade you teach, what were your favorite hobbies? I liked running, hanging out with family and friends, and collecting jewelry.

How would your co-workers describe your teaching style and personality? I would say that they would think I have a pretty laid-back teaching style yet expect a lot from my students. They may also say that I have an energetic personality.

Who is your biggest role model and why? My parents are my role models. They always find the good in people and hold that as their perspective of them regardless of the wrong they may do. My parents work hard and go above and beyond their job duties in order to make life a bit easier for those around them. They raised their three daughters to value family time, take education seriously, and always forgive those who have wronged you. They are all I hope to be in life.

How has education changed in the last 10 years? I feel as if education has changed in many ways. Now it is more about getting a good grade than learning how much education can impact your future. We don’t seem to be teaching students that continuing education isn’t just about getting a higher degree, but it can also be about learning valuable skills for life also.

What is your best advice to parents to help their child continue growing academically? Take your kids outside to learn. They don’t need to be reading at the age of 3 in order to become successful; research even backs this. Students seem to regress when we push them too hard before they are old enough for school. Our children need us to be patient with them, answer their million questions, and give them opportunities to experience life before we tell them all the answers. Ask them the questions they ask us.

If my students learn one thing this year, I hope it is… to be kind to all people in this world we share.

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