Sara Efinger ’15 arrived at Newman University as a freshman with the intent of joining its sonography program.
So it’s interesting that today she’s a teacher.
During Efinger’s first year at Newman, she took courses like anatomy and physiology but quickly realized they weren’t for her. She began to feel a bit lost.
“However, Dr. Max Frazier, who at the time was the dean of secondary education, was also my T&T (Traditions and Transitions) instructor,” Efinger explained. “He is the one who encouraged me to give the education program a shot based on my personality, my love for reading and my ability to be spontaneous and flexible.”
The following semester, Efinger began her introduction to teaching courses, as well as higher-level English courses, and fell in love with both programs.
In addition to her studies at Newman, she was part of the Sloppy Joes Improv Troupe, on the Newman cheer and dance team, participated in two musical theater productions, and served as an admissions ambassador and an orientation leader.
Efinger graduated with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and minors in English and theater in 2015. She accepted her first teaching position with Wichita Public Schools at Allison Traditional Magnet Middle School, where she spent five years as a 6th grade language arts instructor.
In 2020, Efinger earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Baker University, which was helpful in teaching her to vary her teaching style and techniques.
These past two years, Efinger has taught 10th and 11th grade English at Andale High School, where she’s also the freshman volleyball coach.
“Since transitioning to Andale High School, I’ve found that I really enjoy teaching at the high school level,” she said. “The level of engagement from the students is something that I craved when I was teaching at the middle school level. I also enjoy the rural atmosphere where the students are involved within the community.”
One of Efinger’s favorite topics to teach her high schoolers is Shakespeare.
“Seeing them grasp the challenging language and themes from ‘Hamlet’ and making real-world connections to the text is fun for me to see and experience with them,” she said.
She also enjoys sharing a bit about her journey at Newman with her students.
“My time at Newman was such a great experience,” Efinger said. “I encourage all of my high school students to at least take a tour and see if it’s the right fit for them. I talk highly of my experience at Newman and hope that others can have such an enjoyable experience as well.”
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