Sunday, March 24, 2019

By Sara Nelson

Teaching requires passion and dedication.

These are attributes that junior Elementary Education student and student athlete,Talia Buss, developed from sports, but that are equally useful in the classroom or on the track.

Buss is a short sprinter from Waukee, Iowa, and was named a 2018 Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholar and a two-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association all-academic team member.

In high school, Buss participated in nearly every sport imaginable, from soccer to cheerleading to track. But she had a love for running track, and broke school records in the 100 meters and as part of the 800-meter relay. Buss was thrilled to receive both academic and athletic scholarships to the University of Iowa, and was excited to begin her collegiate track career.


College student with elementary student reading

On a typical day, Buss must be at strength training at 6:30 a.m. Practices can last from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30p.m., leaving her little time to fit in classes, practicum, volunteering, and homework.

“It is a big-time commitment, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” says Buss. “It has always been very important to me to be present. When I’m teaching in the classroom, I’m not thinking about school or track, I’m thinking about bettering this child. When I’m in class, I am trying to learn and listen to what the professor is telling me. When I’m on the track, I can’t be thinking about a test I have, I have to be thinking about the work out.”

Being a student athlete has had a large impact on Buss’s college experience. Because of her demanding and tiring schedule, she is unable to have the same academic or social life as her non-athlete peers.

“I can’t stay up until 3 a.m. and cram for a test, because that will show up on the track. I see my friends going out and having fun, and I can’t do that because I’m so tired from track,” says Buss. “I have to be deliberate with my time, and don’t have a lot of down time. It is hard but it has helped me be disciplined.”

Buss believes that her commitment to track has positively impacted her skills as a teacher, and vice versa. She has taken the leadership skills she learned through the Teacher Education Program, and uses them in her sport through leading work outs and being a mentor to other athletes.

“I think that being dedicated in my sport has helped me in the classroom. Being in sports has instilled the value of determination and hard work in me, and that has transferred into the classroom,

Young boy playing math game with student teacher

and I think my leadership role in the classroom has shown on the track, too,” says Buss.

Buss says that her College of Education professors are crucial in helping her be a successful student athlete, as she often has to miss class or reschedule office hours because of track.

“I love my professors here. These are relationships that I will have for years,” Buss says. “I want to be the kind of teacher that they are.”

Buss is excited to student teach next year, because it gives her an opportunity to spend more time with her students.

“I am looking forward to student teaching and being in the classroom every day. I build such a good relationship with the students meeting them once a week, and I am excited to have a bigger role,” says Buss.

While Buss is not sure where she would like to teach after graduation, she hopes to coach track at the high school level in the future.

“It’s so much fun to get to know the students and see them progress. They are all so unique and bring different backgrounds,” says Buss. “I am looking forward to teaching them everything that I know, and learning from them, too. They have so much to share.”

“I think teaching is the most satisfying job there is. I can’t wait to have my own classroom,” says Buss.

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