Her mother always predicted she would be a teacher. It was the way she handled her younger brother and how she showed a lot of patience as she taught him things like how to kick a soccer ball and swing at his toys.
“I’ve always imagined myself as a teacher,” says Emily VanBergen who is currently teaching at Lincoln Elementary. “My mother predicted I would be a teacher when she saw me teaching my baby brother how to play with his toys when he was an infant.”
VanBergen always thought she would be a teacher and she even saved elementary school projects she thought she would use when she became a teacher. But as she grew older and into her teenage years, she developed a passion for empowering others, advocating for them, and teaching them how to advocate for themselves. It was during these formative years that she decided that teaching would be the career she pursued.
VanBergen is a fourth-generation educator. Her great-grandfather was a career educator. Her grandmother and grandfather were also career educators and her father began pursuing a career in education when VanBergen was a middle school student.
VanBergen is bilingual and has taught Dual Language (English/Spanish) Third Grade at Lincoln Elementary for the past four years. This year, however, she will embark on a new adventure as a new fourth-grade teacher, also at Lincoln Elementary.
“I’ve known I belonged in an education-centered career for a long time,” said VanBergen when asked if there was something else she would like to do in the field of education. “I’m passionate about learning how to best meet the needs of my students that come from all different backgrounds, and I’m dedicated to constantly learning more about differentiating my instruction to help students grow in learning and confidence.”
VanBergen also has her husband to bounce ideas with when planning for instruction delivery. For example, earlier this year, before the pandemic hit, VanBergen collaborated with her husband, Erich VanBergen who teaches Math at Success High School on a project he called the “Classroom Market.” Erich taught his high school class concepts of supply and demand and then they set up a makeshift shop in VanBergen’s 3rd-grade class and sold products like juice, crayons, erasers, and homemade slime. His students played the role of the producer and VanBergen’s students were the consumers.
“My husband thought about what they were learning in their math class, and he realized this would be a great opportunity for his students to learn about supply and demand, and scarcity,” said VanBergen in the video. “ They also learned about being consumers, producers, and what it is like to be an entrepreneur.”
VanBergen says that one of her goals when teaching is to educate her students to seek justice with an equity-minded approach. She also strives to teach her students to have high expectations for themselves and to self-advocate.
“I daily remind my students that they are teachers, too. We all are,” said VanBergen. “I learn from them every day and watching them grow with confidence in themselves and the power they possess is always awe-inspiring.”