It was the first day of class her freshman year at a large public institution. She sat in the sixth row toward the middle of the room among a class of what seemed like hundreds. Her professor walked into the room and immediately began lecturing to the students. For Johanna Habegger, she wanted more out of her college experience. She didn’t just want to feel like a number.
Johanna came to Huntington University her sophomore year as a transfer student to study elementary education. She felt drawn to Huntington when she realized she would grow further in her spiritual walk with God through the Christ-centered education offered at HU.
“It’s so nice to be around people who encourage you constantly in your faith,” Johanna said. “I like being able to voice my opinion and share my thoughts during classes.”
Johanna immediately got involved in the education department on campus. She served a year as president for the education honors society, Kappa Delta Pi, and volunteered with the women’s service sorority, Alpha Gamma Pi.
During her senior year, she had the opportunity to travel to China and saw what it might be like for students from other countries trying to learn in America while she taught an English camp using her ENL (English as a New Language) endorsement teaching the Chinese students about the English language and American culture.
From her experience in China, Johanna realized she would like to use her degree to teach in a multicultural setting.
Along with opportunities to travel abroad, Johanna also completed multiple internships in area classrooms giving her firsthand experience even before beginning her student teaching.
“Huntington does a good job of getting us into the classroom soon,” she said. “Had it not been for how early I got in to a classroom setting, I would not have felt as nearly prepared.”
What Johanna remembers most and fondly of about Huntington will always be the people, especially the relationships with her professors and friends.
“A few days before graduation, I went to Dr. Cynthia Steury’s office, and she prayed for me because I was heading out into the real world,” Johanna said of the professor of education. “I just don’t think I would have made that kind of relationship with any professor at a larger school. I feel like I’ll stay in contact with her.”
Johanna graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education with a TESOL certificate (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). She currently works at Jefferson Elementary School (her former school) in Warsaw, Ind., as the English as a Second Language teacher.
The principal asked Johanna to come in for an interview after hearing about how she traveled to China and learning she had an ENL endorsement. After the interview, the principal offered her the job.
“I spend more individualized time with each of my students, which I like,” Johanna said. “I help bridge the communication gap between the student and the teacher. The fact that Huntington offers an ENL endorsement is huge. It got me the job.”
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