Emily Turner just wrapped up a busy first year of teaching split between two county school districts.
She taught four sections of Spanish 1 in the morning at Centerville High School, then drove to Moulton where she taught Spanish 1, 2, 3 and 4. She also coached volleyball at Moulton and girls’ tennis at Centerville.
Turner says language learning is important, but other lessons emerge as well.
“In my classroom, I see a lot of stereotypes about Spanish speakers — that they are not educated, that they are not intelligent,” she says. “And one of the biggest parts of my job is to alleviate those stereotypes and help people interact better with things that are unknown to them.”
Turner grew up in Clinton and graduated in a class of 310.
“It’s been a really different experience because I came from a really big high school,” she says. “The really small classes are nice.”
Turner studied Spanish and religion at Luther College in Decorah and spent her junior year abroad in Quito, Ecuador. She didn’t think she wanted to teach, though.
“Growing up I wanted to be a teacher because my mom was a teacher, but in college being like your mom was not the thing to do, so I dropped the teaching part the third week,” she says.
After graduation she changed her mind and went back for a teaching degree from the University of Northern Iowa.
“When I graduated, I couldn’t imagine not doing something with students,” she says.
Turner, who got married in June 2012, also brought her husband to the area. She got her job first, then Casey Turner started to look in the surrounding area. He landed a job teaching band at Twin Cedars Community School the same week as their wedding.
Starting this fall, Turner’s husband will teach K-12 music at Moulton-Udell. The couple will even share the same room — the space where Turner teaches Spanish in the afternoon is where her husband will teach elementary music in the morning.
This year they lived in between their two jobs and drove opposite directions every morning. Turner says she is looking forward to relocating to Appanoose County and getting to know people here better.