Aaron Van Eperen, member of the Honors Class of 2017, could not keep himself far from the classroom. He couldn’t keep himself far from the St. Norbert campus either. We are so proud to share that only a few months after receiving his diploma, Van Eperen has already begun teaching 7th grade social studies and the AVID program at Lombardi Middle School, only a short drive from his home of the past four years.
Just a few weeks into his new position, Aaron shares that the first weeks have gone very well. While he admits that the days are exhausting, he also notes that the great students make each day better. “In seventh grade you never know what is going to happen, and that is probably the best part,” said Van Eperen.
Looking back, Aaron recounts that teaching was not always his expected career path. “If you would have asked me when I was in middle school what I was going to be, I would have never even thought of being a teacher,” Aaron said. However, going to high school and taking classes with great teacher role models changed this perspective. “The more I thought about being a teacher, the more excited I got about it, and that was when I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
Much more goes into a teacher than initially meets the eye, and Aaron is experiencing first hand what this means, stating that it has surprised him just how much goes into each day in the classroom. “I knew it would be a lot of hours and work at home, but there is so much more to being a teacher than just teaching lessons.” Constantly working with students, collaborating with other teachers, meeting with administrators, and keeping parents in the loop is a lot to handle, but Aaron says that these challenges make up part of why teaching is so rewarding.
Despite the fact the St. Norbert College chapter of his life has closed, Aaron confidently says that the program here prepared him well for his current position. “The Education Department at SNC is one of the best in the state,” said Aaron. “They prepared me in so many ways, but the best way was by getting me into the classroom and working with students early and often in my college career. There are only so many things that you can learn in a lecture or from a textbook, but you get so much more from working in the classroom.”
During his career at St. Norbert College, Van Eperen majored in History, minored in United States Politics, and was certified in Early Adolescence - Adolescence Education and Broadfield Social Studies. He was extremely involved on campus, most memorably as the play-by-play voice of Green Knights athletics, announcing football and both men and women’s basketball, and additionally serving as a two-term Co-President of Dance Marathon, during which over $96,000 was raised for the Children’s Miracle Network. This involvement has, without a doubt, given him the knowledge and experience necessary to guide the educational path of dozens of middle school students - and he is doing exactly that.
And as far as the future goes, Aaron is excited to continue in this new chapter of his life. “Being an ‘actual’ adult has been a transition for sure, but just like going to college, it is a fun one that is definitely worth it. I look forward to continue to work with students everyday and build relationships with them, while hopefully teaching them a little bit about social studies along the way.”
We wish Mr. Van Eperen nothing but the best, and we know that his students are some of the luckiest out there!