Kleckner Dreams of Teaching, Writing

Mallory Kaster, Senior Staff Writer

Marissa Kleckner’s personality can be summed up with the following: volleyball, English and St. Norbert.

Kleckner, who is English teacher Mrs. Carolyn Brown’s Sophomore Block student this semester, grew up and was educated in Sheboygan Falls, where she said she was involved in a lot of things.

“I was really active, played in a lot of sports, and was involved in a lot of different clubs,” she said.

When it came to college, Kleckner said there were a lot of reasons she chose St. Norbert.

“I chose St. Norbert College because of the great education program, sophomore block [experience], and because they get their pre-service teachers out into the field as soon as possible,” she said.

Choosing English as her major was also the obvious choice for Kleckner.

“I picked English as my major because I like to read and write” she said. “I like how I can just start reading and I can focus just on that and all the rest of my worries sort of drift away.”

Although she enjoys reading, Kleckner says writing has the opposite effect on her.

“When I write something, I get really excited and a bunch of ideas run through my head all at once,” she said. “Usually I have so many ideas popping in my head that it’s hard for me to write or type it all down.”

English has always been one of Kleckner’s passions.

“I remember growing up Language Arts and English were always my favorite classes,” she said. “In middle school I went to writing workshops where we got to make our own illustrations, put them together, and make our own book.”

Kleckner, however, had bigger dreams.

“I wanted to have my book published and have people that I didn’t know read it. The thought of someone I never met reading something that I wrote and actually taking what I have to say into consideration thrills me.”

So for Kleckner, the dream stretches beyond becoming an English teacher.

“It’s my dream to not only become an English teacher but also to have my own book published. I want to be an English teacher to not only help students improve their reading, writing, speaking, and communication skills, but I also want to give them the opportunity to have a voice and be heard.”

As for her experience so far at NDA, Kleckner says it has been really fun and exciting. “It’s been crazy busy and I have been learning a lot,” she said. “I tutor three students and observe and help Mrs. Brown teach her English classes.”

Kleckner hopes to get a lot out of the Sophomore Block experience. “I hope to better understand the duties and responsibilities of being a teacher, gain more experience with creating lesson plans, and get more experience with actually teaching.”

It is clear that Kleckner has thought a lot about her future, and has big plans.

“In five years I see myself teaching English at a school, writing poetry, and starting to write a book,” she said.

Kleckner is kept busy between school, work and hobbies, with volleyball being a major part of her life.

“My favorite sport is definitely volleyball. I played it year round,  not only on the school team, but also on a variety of club teams. For two years I even played on a junior Olympic team,” she said. “In college I was involved in intramural sand and indoor volleyball. I absolutely love it.”

Mrs. Brown, whom Kleckner will be observing until May 15th, said she’s enjoyed having Kleckner in the classroom.

“She’s very conscientious and responsible about what she has to do. She wants to do a good job,” Brown said. “She has been working on her lesson plans early. We’ve already talked through what she’ll be teaching the class. She’s very good at doing the same assignments the students have, such as writing poetry. The kids enjoy her participation.”

Kleckner’s love of poetry is obvious to Brown. “She’s a creative writer. She enjoys writing poetry. In fact, she’s had some of her poetry published in the St. Norbert literary magazine.”

Brown also sees the benefit of the Sophomore Block program. “Since I have seen the results of the program and the quality of teachers we get from St. Norbert, I think it’s great,” she said. “Unfortunately some schools don’t get students in the classroom until after four years, and then they realize they don’t like it.”

Senior Abby Almonte has gotten to know Ms. Kleckner in Mrs. Brown’s English class.

“I sometimes get to see Ms. Kleckner in the morning and it’s pretty cool to see the opportunities that are available for students like her,” she said. “I can relate to her on a student level as well as see her as a teacher figure and I think that is a good way for students here and at St. Norbert to gain respect for teachers.”

As for now, Brown is contemplating Kleckner’s teaching of her freshmen.

“I look forward to the lessons she’ll be teaching. Maybe I should reverse roles and do what the students will be doing,” Brown said.