Eastburn feels at home teaching in the classroom

MHS math teacher Ben Eastburn assists sophomore Keagan Glawatz during a geometry lesson. Eastburn has been working for the MCSD for 13 years. He was first hired as the activities director, but now teaches math courses, as well as physical education. Eastburn has also coached various sports over the years as well. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Panther Professionals
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Panther Professionals is a weekly series highlighting educators, administrators, staff and aides who are dedicated to the future of the Monticello Community School District.

     Over the past 20-plus years, Ben Eastburn has been involved in educating youth in one way or another. Whether as mentor, teacher, or coach, he still enjoys the students as they “solve mysteries” in Eastburn’s math classes.

     “Since 1987, I was in education in one form or another,” he said.

     Eastburn has been working for the Monticello Community School District for 13 years. In that time, he’s taken on several roles, with his current position as high school math teacher. During his first six years here, Eastburn was hired as the school district’s full-time activities director. Much like the athletic director role, he organized sporting events for the school district. In addition, though, Eastburn also took on non-sports-related events and activities (choir, band, drama, speech, etc.).

     ‘I mostly supervised at the events,” he said. “They were all extra curricular activities.”

     The district then reorganized that activities director position and turned it into an athletic director. That’s when Eastburn got the chance to pursue his passion of teaching.

     “Math was a sure thing,” he said of the job. “It got me back into the classroom.”

     Eastburn actually got into teaching to coach athletics.

     “I enjoyed coaching basketball,” he said at the time. Most teaching opportunities also include coaching gigs.

     Over the years, Eastburn has coached baseball, middle school basketball, and middle school cross country. He admitted he still misses aspects of the coaching environment, but feels more at home in the classroom.

     Aside from his various math and geometry classes, for two years now Eastburn has taught one class of physical education.

     “I team-teach with Val (Vallerie Lynn, MHS physical education teacher),” said Eastburn.

     In the past, Eastburn also taught Introduction to Computers at Kirkwood’s regional center in Monticello.

     “Even when I was AD,” he said, “I taught a class or two.”

     It all comes back to education for Eastburn.

     “I enjoy education,” he said. “Working with the kids keeps you young. You can feed off their energy a bit.”

     Right now, Eastburn predominately teaches sophomore students. He joked it’s the perfect age because it’s right before “they think they know it all, but they still listen” to teachers.

     Of all the places Eastburn has taught at around the country, he noted the one common thread they shared was their care for the students.

     “I’ve been at a lot of places,” he said. “But Monticello has phenomenal facilities, and I can say that. It’s top-notch here and I continue to see great things.”

     Throughout his time teaching all over the country, Eastburn said it was nice to finally return to Monticello where he himself grew up.

     “It’s nice to live and work in the same community,” he said.

     During his tenure at MHS, Eastburn taught two of his four sons in his math classes. All four of his sons were in the school district at some point during his years with the MCSD. As for teaching his own children, Eastburn felt it was harder for them than it was for him. He said with so many students in and out of his classroom during the course of a day, he really didn’t pay attention to singling out his own kids.

     Eastburn earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa. He also received his P.E. endorsement from UI.

     “But I preferred teaching over P.E.,” said Eastburn.

     He went on to earn his master’s degree from the University of Houston.

     Looking back at the many places he’s been, Eastburn said Monticello truly has a lot to offer for the size of the town. “It’s a great town,” he praised.

     In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, road biking, and following all sports in general.

     The Eastburn family is also awaiting the arrival of their first grandchild.



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