Teaching beyond the classroom: Mrs. Anthony provides the tools for student success and acceptance


Picture by: Jerrica Zuhlke

Jerrica Zuhlke, Copy Editor

Walking through the hallways of Lincoln Southeast High School, students often experience intense feelings of frustration due to stress caused by school assignments and workloads. The crowded hallways intensify these emotions, making school seem like a never-ending vortex of homework and stress.

However, as students make their way down F Hall, they come across one particular classroom that is hoping to change this common viewpoint of the school system. Walking inside room F233, students are immediately exposed to a highly decorated classroom filled with streamers, movie posters and various gizmos and trinkets. A wall consisting completely of windows constantly floods sunlight into all corners of the classroom, allowing students to feel more calm and focused during their time in room F233.

The English teacher hoping that this environment will change their students’ mindsets, even if only for 50 minutes, is Kim Anthony.

Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Anthony has lived all around the country. She even lived in Germany for a short amount of time. Growing up, Anthony lived in an economically challenged household, which she believes has influenced the way she lives her life today.

“I really use that as a kind of foundation for who I am,” Anthony said. “As far as my development of gratitude, to be able to endure and persevere.”

After graduating from Dana College, and receiving her master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Anthony taught in schools all around the country. One school in particular, benefited from her presence, as she assisted in rebooting the entire Theater program.

The Sioux City East High School’s Theater program had dwindled down to only one available class for Theater, and interest was falling short. Anthony was heartbroken when she saw this program in such shambles, and set out to fix it.

“By the time I left there, which was four years later, there was two levels of acting classes, two levels of stage crafting and then there was a directing class just focusing on the students taking part of the production,” Anthony said.

Anthony has always been a fan of the arts, so much so that she almost went to New York City to pursue her passion. She decided, however, that New York life wouldn’t completely fulfill her dreams.

“To [move to New York City], I would have to sacrifice being a mom and a wife, and that was something really important to me, to have that stable family unit that I never had growing up,” Anthony said.

Anthony also helped with the Theater and Speech departments at several other schools she has taught at, but when she came to LSE seven years ago, she realized she was going to need a change of pace.

“They expect so much from the teachers here, which is great for students, but it doesn’t free the teacher up to do a lot of extra stuff outside of the classroom,” Anthony said.

Anthony still sponsors the Louder Than a Bomb (LTAB) slam poetry team, and Chillax Club at LSE, both of which she believes are influential in a student’s psyche in their own different ways.

“It’s really just important to provide a safe space for people to develop their art,” Anthony said, concerning the importance of LTAB.

Anthony also has high hopes to make the Chillax Club into a class someday in order to teach students healthy ways to deal with stress.

“Kids don’t know how to deal with stress and anxiety in a healthy way… I think [the teachers and school boards] need to be more supportive about it,” Anthony said.

This philosophy for a safe space and allowing students to relax also stems from Anthony’s teaching philosophy. Anthony believes that all kids matter, in every sense of the word.

“I want every kid that comes to my door to feel like they belong,” Anthony said.

Anthony hopes that the environment she has created in her classroom will allow students to not feel stressed when walking into her classroom. She hopes that everyone realizes that her room is a safe space, where students can let out whatever they may need to. She also hopes that her hands-on approach to teaching students allows them to learn more and understand some things that they may be too nervous to ask about. Anthony also notices when a student is falling behind, and does everything in her power to make sure they don’t stay that way.

Students like Zaria Lott (10) have benefited from Anthony’s teaching style.

In summer school, Lott had Anthony as her Oral Communications teacher, which showed her that Anthony is very helpful when it comes to assignments and projects. She helped students out with outlines for their speeches, and ensuring their understanding of the subject matter.

“She was just really helpful towards the students, and getting all of their assignments done,” Lott said. “She wants her students to strive for their best.”

Cayden Gonzales (11) also believes that Anthony’s teaching style allows students to enjoy class on a larger scale.

“[Her teaching style] gives you an element of freedom; It makes you feel like you are an adult instead of being constrained by rules,” Gonzales said.

In her classes, Anthony allows for certain time dedicated only to work. However, she allows students to move around and sit with friends. While many teachers find this counterproductive, Anthony finds that students are more inclined to finish their work.

“I feel like [free work time] gives people an incentive to do what she wants,” Gonzales said.

This helping, yet also laid-back, teaching style also stems into her parenting style.

Owen Anthony (10), Anthony’s son, has first-hand experience when it comes to how much work  Anthony puts into education and taking care of her students.

“She goes above and beyond. Because every day, when we come in at 7:30 [a.m.], she is carrying a basket of wire balls for students, or some food supply, or some candy, just to keep her students involved, and also to keep her students wanting to learn,” Owen said.

Owen is also involved in several different sports outside of school, which does not deter his mom from always cheering him on.

“She always supported me, whatever the [activity]. Even if it’s something she completely likes, or she doesn’t know a thing about what it is, she’s still supporting me,” Owen said.

Between teaching all of her classes, sponsoring extra-curricular activities and parenting her two children, Anthony has a very busy schedule. Many people would find all of that exhausting. However, that never stops her from being the best teacher, sponsor or mother that she can be.