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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Teacher Spotlight: Elizabeth Brenneman

Teaching was never the plan. It became her dream career.
Elizabeth+Brenneman+sits+and+poses+at+her+desk.+Brenneman+seeks+to+create+an+environment+in+her+classroom+where+all+students%2C+regardless+of+skill+level%2C+can+feel+empowered.+
Chantal de Macedo Eulenstein
Elizabeth Brenneman sits and poses at her desk. Brenneman seeks to create an environment in her classroom where all students, regardless of skill level, can feel empowered.

For Elizabeth Brenneman, teaching was never the plan. Physics, however, had been her intention since her senior year of high school. 

“[Physics is] just so powerful. If you know the initial conditions of the ball, you can tell where it’s going to land, that’s pretty neat,” said Brenneman. 

I’m so grateful [that I chose teaching] because I love seeing students want to understand and when they feel empowered.

— Elizabeth Brenneman

Majoring in physics in college, Brenneman still wanted to continue with physics, but did not want to work in a lab — that eventually led her to teaching. 

“I kind of fell into it,” she said. “I’m so grateful [that I chose teaching] because I love seeing students want to understand and when they feel empowered.”

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Physics can often be a daunting and difficult subject for many students, however, Brenneman seeks to create an environment in her classroom where all students, regardless of skill level, can feel empowered.

“I watch for confused faces when I’m explaining, and for students that are really scared, I try really hard to be a cheerleader. I have a really high standard for learning, but I also know not to take ourselves too seriously, and that we’re all human — that’s that more important thing, [that] we respect each other,” she said.

Elizabeth Brenneman explains an AP Physics problem to a student. Brenneman makes it a priority to make time for students’ questions. (Chantal de Macedo Eulenstein)

Within the Ames High science department, Brenneman has found a community of support and enrichment. In her 18 years of teaching, that community has shown up for her as friends.

“Mrs. Tibben picked up a prescription [for me] and brought it to my house. Mrs. Sullivan, Aileen Sullivan, brought food when I had a baby. We’re just friends to each other,” said Brenneman. 

Teachers often go unacknowledged for their work. For Brenneman, the best way to show a teacher appreciation is simple: tell them. 

“Write [your teacher] a thank you note…we’re trying hard over here,” she said. 

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