The high school students at Minnetonka High School inspire Sara Martinson to continue teaching, even on those days when she’s not feeling her best.
“They’re just energetic,” she said about the students.
Martinson teaches accelerated and general English classes to freshmen, and she teaches college reading and study skills to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. It is the freshmen who show the most energy, she said.
“I like their enthusiasm. I like that they’re not jaded by the high school experience yet,” Martinson said.
She described freshmen as “curious and a little wacky.”
Martinson did not always enjoy being in the classroom. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in English Literature, she needed a break from school. She decided to become a PGA professional. For 15 years she worked at a golf club in Willmar planning events, running leagues and tournaments, assisting with club operations, and teaching golf.
Eventually, her love for books brought her back to her original plan to teach in a school. She earned a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas and started teaching at .
“I love literature. I love books,” Martinson said. “There aren’t too many places in the world where you can talk about books and people actually want to do it.”
This year is Martinson’s seventh year of teaching. The iPad pilot has made it a different year for her as she re-thinks her curriculum, but her students have used it well, she said. She didn’t think that students would agree to give up their iPads, even if they do become frustrated with the technology at times.
Martinson enjoys challenging her students and even wants them to make mistakes.
“If they’re always right then they’re not learning anything,” she said.
In the summer, Martinson teaches junior golf. Her favorite leisure activities include spending time with friends and family, watching movies, and of course, reading. She gave two book recommendations: The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
One of her favorite books is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.