Teacher Feature: Mrs. Crank


Julia Zaksek, Staff writer

Nadine Crank, lover of all things literary and teaching, has been teaching in public and private education for 17 years. Her teaching career began unexpectedly when her second oldest son began falling behind in school.

“I was [working] in corporate America [as a project manager], loving what I was doing, but then my son was struggling,” Crank said. “I could teach him at home, but somehow when he got to school he struggled.”

Her decision to take time off to help her son with his academics led her to a career she never planned for.

“I took some time off to work with him, and then I started tutoring, and shortly after that I started substituting in high school, and then I was offered a position,” Crank said. “I’ve been teaching ever since.”

When choosing an area to focus on when getting her certification, she could’ve chosen any subject, but she decided to stay true to what she’d always loved.

“I loved to read. I would write all of my ideas down for everything, even in the corporate world,” Crank said.

Growing up, Crank knew the challenges gifted students faced in the classroom. She was one herself.

“People thought you knew everything so they let you get away with murder, figuratively speaking. They just sort of ignored you and all of the teacher’s attention most of the time went to other students,” Crank said.

This was a pattern Crank vowed to change when she took on GT classes. Her inspiration for teaching: her high school math teacher Mr. Juriessie.

“He took time to explain things to students, and when I freaked out and cried because I couldn’t get that particular process down, I kept missing something, he looked me in the eyes and said: ‘that’s not going to fix anything,” Crank laughed. “He said: ‘I suggest you follow my steps, know that you can do it and you will.’”

Mr. Juriesse’s efforts to establish genuine relationships with his students served as a template for Crank’s interactions with her own students.

“I want the students to realize that if they open up and they’re honest and they make themselves just a little bit vulnerable, then the teacher is going to be able to help them and get to what the real issues are,” she said.

Crank’s passion for her students, both Pre-AP and GT, often spills over to her other favorite thing to do: writing. She is currently working on two novels. The first explores the dynamics and meaning of family.

“The second novel I’m working on is a young adult novel, and it has a whole lot of personality from my GT kids,” Crank said. “If I publish it electronically, I’ll let my students know so they can read it. Maybe they’ll see themselves in it, who knows.”

Through the challenges and tests of teaching English and GT students, Crank remembers the reason she chose her profession.

“I can teach anything, I could teach science or math or history, but the students make the teaching worth it,” Crank said.