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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Home grown teachers -- Alumnus: Coming home a good idea

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Joel Arterburn is is one of the few male teachers in the elementary grades and he's ready for the challenge.
(Lorri Sughroue/McCook Daily Gazette)
McCOOK, Nebraska -- Joel Arterburn didn't have to think twice when he was offered the job as a third grade teacher at McCook Elementary.

"My wife and I hopped right on it," he laughed. "My wife was driving to work every day in Lincoln while I was student teaching in Wahoo, and she was sick of the commute.

"We were ready to come home."

Arterburn graduated from McCook Senior High in 2006 and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2011. HIs wife, Taryn (Placzek) is another MHS graduate and they have a 14-month-old son, Bentley.

Coming back to McCook was a wise decision for his family, he believes.

Not only can his child get to know both sets of grandparents, but unlike the city, "the kids here can play in the backyard and parents don't have to be on them constantly."

Arterburn grew up in McCook, riding his bike and knowing all his neighbors, something he and his wife want their kids to enjoy, too.

He's always liked working with younger children, Arterburn said, coaching little league football all through high school.

Watching the kids grow up and learn new skills was the best part about coaching little league, he said.

So for his career choice, "I always knew I wanted to coach, yet knew it had to be the right job so I could do it."

Teaching was the perfect fit, especially in the elementary grades.

"Kids this age are still looking for answers," he said, "and still want to learn."

How does he feel about being one of the few male teachers for elementary students? It's great, Arterburn said, as well as being a responsibility.

"For some single-parent kids, I may be the only male role model they know, " he said. "Some kids may need a male figure they can respect, if they don't have one in their lives."

Although still fairly new on the job, Arterburn may already be the talk of the playground.

"I heard some boys asking each other if they got the male teacher and they were pretty excited about it," he said.

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