11 years in, former softball player reflects on teaching career
She may have just returned to the classroom, but 2009 Marian University graduate Laura (Holzbauer) Ramthun is getting back in the swing of things.
The New Berlin Eisenhower Middle/High School science teacher had her second child in August 2019, and following her maternity leave is excited to be starting her 11th year of teaching. But as she enters the school year midway through, she’s reminded of what she learned at Marian and how she discovered her love for teaching.
“My time in Marian’s education program was great, and throughout it felt throughout like I had found my home,” Ramthun said. “When I left, I felt prepared, and the way Marian allowed me to explore teaching really helped me in the long run.”
Finding her home
Ramthun grew up in Menomonee Falls, and while she was a three-sport athlete at Pius XI Catholic High School, she knew softball was her strength. So, when then-Marian softball coach Ann Felker reached out following Ramthun’s inquiry, Ramthun decided to give Marian a look.
“I looked at other schools, but I knew I wasn’t a ‘big school person’ and I really loved the feel of Marian when I visited,” Ramthun said. “I appreciated that it was far enough away (from Menomonee Falls) that it felt like I wasn’t right there, but that it was close enough to get back to if I ever needed.”
Finding her passion
Another perk about Marian was it also afforded her the chance to play on the golf team. She appreciated how accommodating her professors were to her athletic schedule, and she translated that love of sports to entering with a focus on becoming an athletic trainer while taking education courses.
“I found by the end of my first semester that I enjoyed teaching more, more-so than studying anatomy,” said Ramthun. “Marian made it really easy to shift that focus and bring out my desire to become a high school teacher.”
Further bringing out her appreciation for teaching was how quick Marian got her in front of an actual classroom.
“I don’t know how early other universities and colleges get their students teaching in the classroom, but I know getting into my classroom as a sophomore was incredibly helpful,” she said. “It showed me, and showed me early, that I was meant to be a teacher and that I would truly enjoy being one.
Ramthun also attributed professor Susan Bornstein-Forst with helping cultivate her love for education. Ramthun worked through Bornstein-Forst’s labs for three years and would often travel to conferences and presentations with her.
“If I had been at a bigger school I wouldn’t have had that, Marian just has that community feel and the connections you have with the professors are crucial to learning,” she said. “I was shy, so somewhere else I would’ve needed help connecting with people, but Marian’s small class sizes made it so the professors were people, not just someone standing in front of a room talking.”
Finding her fit
Following graduation Ramthun returned to familiar territory – Pius XI Catholic High School.
“You can’t figure everything out about teaching until you’re actually doing it, there’s just certain things you can’t be taught, but I was able to get a really good idea and background of what my first job would be like,” she said. “Marian helped me explore a lot before I got into my first position, and I’m thankful for that.”
She taught at her alma mater for three years before moving on to New Berlin Eisenhower Middle/High School, where she has now been for eight years.
And as she relishes being a mom, don’t be surprised if you see her around campus come September.
“I’ve been known to go back for Homecoming, playing in the alumni softball game and wandering campus,” she said. “I just love seeing the professors, that they remember you and ask who you are. It’s that personal connection that brings me back.”