Lincoln Katsion graduated from Northwest this spring with his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a concentration in mathematics. He is beginning his career next fall as a fifth grade teacher in the Nodaway-Holt School District. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

By Grace Niemeyer, NWMSU communication assistant

Northwest Missouri State University was an obvious choice for Lincoln Katsion for three reasons: affordability, its outstanding teaching program and family ties.

Katsion, who graduates from Northwest this spring with his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a concentration in mathematics, is student teaching at South Nodaway Elementary School in Barnard, Missouri. Beginning next fall, he will teach fifth grade in the Nodaway-Holt School District.

He discovered his passion for teaching through volunteering at summer school and the A+ Scholarship Program. His father, Dr. John Katsion, is an associate professor of communication at Northwest.

“I worked in a first-grade classroom, and I remember working with the kids and thinking, ‘I could do this for the rest of my life,’” Katsion said. “I really liked those third and fourth graders so much that I couldn’t give them up.”

Katsion began working during his freshman year with Brian Swink, an instructor of mathematics and statistics, as a study group leader and co-teaching Strategies for Fundamentals of Mathematics. Last fall, Katsion and Swink traveled to Columbia to present at the Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference. Their session, titled “Power-Up Learning: Teach Like a Video Game,” focused on designing lessons to be engaging like a video game.

“We had a blast relating the teaching practices we’d been using in our Strategies course to the techniques video game developers use to keep gamers engaged for extended periods of time,” Swink said. “Lincoln spoke with confidence in front of a room full of practicing educators and he was well-received. A 20-year veteran teacher shared she still didn’t have the courage and poise Lincoln showed while addressing such a group.”

In addition to being a supplemental instructor, Katsion has been involved with the Baptist Student Union, Laura Street Baptist Church and America Reads, a one-on-one tutoring program to help kindergarten through sixth graders improve their math and reading skills.

Last summer, he worked for Adult Education and Literacy, in partnership with the Maryville R-II School District, which contracts with the Maryville Treatment Center to provide a path for offenders to complete their high school equivalency.

“I learned a lot from this experience – one of the most significant being how to be assertive and use classroom discipline,” Katsion said. “There were several occasions where I had to write convicts up for doing things they should not have been doing, which can be quite intimidating. I learned to be much more assertive through this and to stick up for my decisions.”

Experiences with the program and at Northwest prepared Katsion for student teaching in more ways than one.

“Working with Brian Swink was a huge benefit in my life,” Katsion said. “Practicum definitely helped me with my career. You’re prepared to work that much harder, so once I started student teaching I was all ready for that level of work.

“Overall, my four years here have been really great and I’ve learned more about teaching – more than I thought I would. It’s crazy seeing where I started and where I am now. Not just in teaching, but my walk with God. I’ve gained so much more in my knowledge and my confidence in teaching.”

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