Scholarship Recipient Spotlight: Debbie Sulzberger
Congratulations to Debbie Sulzberger! Debbie earned her spot as one of our very first scholarship recipients. Her touching essay demonstrates the impact a teacher can make on a student’s life by spending quality time. “At the end of the year, Bill came in, and told me that was the first time anyone had taken the time to work and pay attention to him in his whole school career and he would never forget me,” Debbie wrote. Take a moment to learn more about Debbie and enjoy reading her full essay below.
Name: Debbie Sulzberger
Hometown: Muscatine, Iowa
Major: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
What inspired you to pursue your master’s at Concordia University-Portland?
“I am thrilled to start a new chapter in my life by entering the Master’s in Educational Leadership program. After 15 years of teaching, I believe now is the best time in my life to move forward and look for new ideas and strengths that I have to share with my students. I look forward to my time here at Concordia University!”
‘My Students Taught Me This’ Essay
Throughout my fifteen years as a teacher I have learned many things from my students, but one experience has always led me back to what they have taught me the most patience and understanding.
As a vocal music teacher, we encounter a variety of different students. We can get very talented musicians, to the students that are just in our classes because they have to fulfill a required credit class. This often at times can become very frustrating, as I’m sure for other teachers may encounter.
I did at one time have a student though who took the class, who we will call Bill. Bill was shy, not popular, nor did he have a lot of friends, and did not play sports. When I went into my lessons with Bill, he could not carry a tune to save his life, and was often made fun of in class by others because he did not fit in. Bill tried to sing out in class, and it was frustrating because even though he tried, his voice stuck out and was not on pitch.
One day in lessons, Bill said, “Ms. Sulz, you don’t have to take the extra time with me. I know I’m not good, I’m going to drop this class, because I know I’m bad. I just wanted to try and fit in somewhere.” And he turned to walk away.
That broke my heart. I worked with him privately for 3 months, and in that 3 months we got Bill to sing 7 notes on pitch. We made it so he could sing in choir and sing out like he wanted, and not get picked on.
At the end of the year, Bill came in, and told me that was the first time anyone had taken the time to work and pay attention to him in his whole school career and he would never forget me.
Bill and I still stay in touch. He went to college, and his self esteem was much better. That is when I realized I needed to be more patient and understanding with students. I carry that in my heart to this day.