May Spotlight: Q&A with Angelyn Von Rueden

Teach for Christ got the chance to sit down with Educator Angelyn Von Rueden. It’s been a busy, life-giving year for her, and we wanted the chance to sit down and ask her about it.

Q.  I know you love to tell stories, Angelyn. And I know you have plenty of them thanks to your first graders. What are some of the funniest moments you can remember?

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A: I was sitting at lunch one day with some of my first graders, and told them they made me really happy. And one of the littler girls responded, “Is that because you have been lonely most of your life?” 

Another time the fire alarm went off, and while most of the first graders were complaining and covering their ears, one little boy did not have a problem with it.  He told me “I don’t think it’s too loud because there is wax in my ears!”

With that same little boy, I remember we were talking about how flowers come up in the spring, and I explained to him that the plants were sleeping during the winter. He retorted, “No they aren’t, they’re dead! I know about nature!”

Q: In addition to your responsibilities at Ascension Catholic School, you were able to direct two one-act plays at Chesterton Academy. How did that opportunity come about, and what was your favorite part of that experience?

A: It came up because I had helped with another play at Chesterton Academy, Lily of Palestine, when Ascension Catholic School had a couple snow days. I love theater so much, and after that experience I wanted to do more! I wasn’t able to participate in any community theaters, but the timing of Chesterton’s rehearsals worked well for me to help out. I have some acting experience from college, but always wanted to direct my own show. So I approached the theater teacher, Mrs. Ahlquist, and asked if I could provide the students with an extracurricular theater opportunity. I presented to her the idea of two one-acts plays: Triflesand Sorry, Wrong Number.  She loved the idea! I would say my favorite part of the experience was seeing the actors take on their roles and celebrating their successes. 

Q: In April you accepted a position as a third grade teacher with Providence Academy in LaCrosse, WI. How did Teach for Christ help prepare you to take on a full-time teaching job? 

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A: I was not open to teaching when I came out of college, until I applied for a high school position. When that didn’t work out, I applied to Teach for Christ. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do coming out of college with a theology degree. People had encouraged me to teach with my background, but I didn’t feel ready. So when I found Teach for Christ, it was a great fit for getting into teaching without the pressure of managing a full-time classroom.  I also had to open myself up to the idea of Catholic education as a missionary field…before this year, I hadn’t really thought of it in that way. So yes, it’s been a good way for me to get my foot in the door without being too intimidated right off the bat.  

Q: One piece of advice for our new educators:

A: Just give it your all, and allow yourself to be called to do more. You will never regret that. 

Stephen Barnhart