Niksch’s teaching empowers a new generation
Teachers have been a guiding force throughout history and have continually empowered the youth of the world, especially in the crazy year of 2020. This year has made history, which is exactly what LPHS educator Mrs. Niksch teaches.
Niksch has been teaching for 16 years and was encouraged to join the profession by teachers and professors she had in school. Some made her want to do better and some inspired her to be the best teacher she could be, but all impacted her decision to become an educator.
“In high school, there were two teachers who were those bad examples. They made students feel badly about themselves when they didn’t understand or needed help, et cetera, and they were the ones that made me say ‘no kid deserves to be treated like that’,” Niksch said.
Niksch has always been fascinated by history and the topic of social studies. She graduated from Valparaiso University with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a minor in history.
“I have always been interested in events of the past and ancient cultures, Native American cultures, et cetera. History is just a natural fit for me,” Niksch said.
She also holds a master’s degree in education with building level administration from Indiana Wesleyan University and endorsements in sociology and government.
The best part of teaching for Niksch is being able to interact with and get to know students. She loves meeting new students and discovering their personalities, as well as learning from their insight.
“I like to just sit and talk to kids. I think that young people and their opinions are very important, and I learn a lot from you guys. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit and chat. I use those conversations to make me a better teacher and mother to my own kids,” Niksch said.
Her proudest moment in teaching centers around a Veteran’s Day project from a few years back. Students helped put together a display to show personal impacts veterans have had on them. The project became a sensation and even was featured on the cover of the Veteran’s Day edition of the Herald-Argus.
“The project grew and when it was all put together, took up the social studies portion of the large display case in C Hallway. Kids brought in pictures, uniforms, and other personal memorabilia from their loved ones. They even included staff vets and vets in staff member’s families. It was really neat how much everyone got into it,” Niksch said.
In her spare time, Niksch is active and loves spending time with her family. She spends time with her sons, reads, crochets, quilts, works out, and cooks.
To anyone thinking about becoming a social studies teacher or teacher in general, Niksch gives this advice. She finds it important to know the content she is teaching and find connections within them. She also wants students to prepare for a substantial amount of writing in college while in high school to get used to it.
“It’s not just about memorizing dates and people. The cause and effect is really important. Take a diverse range of content classes in college. There are so many topics in history that aren’t as widely talked about as others, you can discover some really cool things,” Niksch said.
Thanks to Mrs. Niksch for all that she brings to LPHS and students!