A passion for history and physical education brought Szurkowski to MHS

MHS social studies teacher Adam Szurkowski has a passion for history and education, which makes him a great fit in his role with the MCSD. Aside from multiple history classes, he also teaches P.E. class as well. Here, assists students Lauren Shady and Sophie Gray during their Modern World History class. (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.

     Monticello High School social studies teacher Adam Szurkowski said he knew he wanted to do something in life where he felt like he was making a real difference.

     “My real passion is education,” he said.

     Szurkowski has been teaching at MHS since the fall of 2013.

     He admitted he initially wanted to pursue a career in physical therapy.

     “I liked working with biology and the body,” said Szurkowski.

     But after trying PT, he realized education was where he needed to be.

     Originally from Yorkville, Ill., a city that lies northwest of Chicago, Szurkowski said he enjoys the “small knit community” and working in Monticello.

     “The staff here are great and we all get along so well.”

     Szurkowski praised the students as well.

     “They have a tremendous passion and are always willing to learn.”

     He said working for a small school district allows the teachers to develop a rapport with the students.

     Szurkowski teaches five world history classes a week and one physical education class. His students span 10-12 grades.

     “I really fell into the perfect job here,” he said. “It was too good to be true.”

     Szurkowski said it might seem odd to have a social studies teacher also teaching P.E., but it was actually something he was on the hunt for. He said he was lucky to find the job opportunity, his first teaching job, with the MCSD.

     “Originally I wanted to teacher P.E., but I have a love of history,” he said.

     Szurkowski attended Clarke University in Dubuque and double majored in both history and physical education. He also earned his coaching endorsement, and coached baseball at MHS for two years.

     When it comes to teaching youth, especially history, Szurkowski said everyone is more connected now than ever.

     “I want the students to understand the differences in the world, other cultures and how we all relate to one another,” he said.

     Szurkowski’s history classes include Ancient History, Medieval History, and Modern History, where he and the students discuss current events.

     Szurkowski said it helps being able to collaborate with his fellow social studies teachers, as well as with the middle school.

     “The staff are always willing to help each other,” he said. “We bounce a lot of ideas off each other.”

     Within Szurkowski’s P.E. class, he has the students work on building strength. Three days a week they spend time lifting weights, and then two days a week they work on conditioning.

     “My goal is to help them learn proper form and succeed,” said Szurkowski. He said when high school students graduate, he hopes they remain active, whether inside the gym or outdoors.

     “It’s important to live an active lifestyle,” he said. “It helps build confidence.”

     Outside of the classroom and gym, Szurkowski is also a “Check and Connect” mentor where he helps students one-on-one having trouble, whether at home (personally) or at school (academically).

     “The program helps them (the students) stay on track,” he said. “It’s also an opportunity for me to get to know that one particular student.”

     Szurkowski resides in Iowa City and enjoys spending time outside, when the weather cooperates.

     “I like to exercise without a doubt,” he shared.

     Szurkowski and his girlfriend also like to try different restaurants and travel when they can.



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