Trumbower, Silvia

March 4, 2003, midnight | By Renee Park | 17 years, 10 months ago

For 33 years, Silvia B. Trumbower's profession has required her to put her heart and soul into her work. With wide-framed glasses, bobbed hair, and a pleasant voice, Trumbower is the essence of an experienced English teacher.

Today, Trumbower teaches Honors English 12 and verbal SAT Prep to seniors at Montgomery Blair High School. She spends most of her day in room 142 as her five classes rotate through. They tend to be well-behaved because "most of them hear something about my reputation before they enter my classroom," she confides. After all, she is known to lead a fun but educational environment.

That is not to say that Trumbower is overly lenient. While not an ogre, she will not hesitate to punish a student who cannot be controlled. "I'll do the usual thing. I'll call parents, counselors, whatever is needed," she explains. But for the most part, she uses humor to control her classes.

Even with all her experience as a teacher, Trumbower readily admits, "I suppose I don't really have a teaching philosophy." Giving it more thought, she adds, chuckling, "I know I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but one thing I do believe in is to treat my students with respect." She tries to give them the same courtesy she would want and strictly adheres to her own rules; she never utters profanity nor knowingly commits hypocrisy.

Throughout the decades, Trumbower's love for her work has been palpable as she interacts with her students. "I love teaching and I love kids," she declares passionately. She prefers teaching older students, making her particularly happy with her current position. In addition, Trumbower enjoys teaching SAT Prep because "there are no essays to grade – the paper load is much lighter than one for an English class." In spite of that, she still likes teaching Honors English as she explains, "I get to pick which books [the class] gets to read. I get to choose books I like."

As a young woman, Trumbower did not plan to teach and only wanted to major in English. However, her father made her take teaching credits in school as "he believed people who came out of college should be able to have a [steady] profession." Nevertheless, it all worked out for Trumbower; by the time she graduated. She found her love for teaching and launched into her lifetime calling.

At the beginning of her career, Trumbower confesses teaching was not so appealing. One of her first classes was out of control, causing her to act out of character. "I probably screamed and yelled [at them]," she admits sheepishly. Surprisingly, however, her most unforgettable experience was not with them, but with an obedient, enthusiastic class she taught in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "[They] spoiled me for other classes," she remembers fondly. "They would come into class with reports to share about things they had found interesting in the book." To this day, she has never had another class that could compare.

Presently, Trumbower is satisfied with her profession. In her spare time, she reads murder mysteries and the "good books" from her book club. She also visits the theater to watch classical plays. These hobbies only help to reinforce her pleasure of teaching, something she considers vital to her role as a teacher. "In order to be effective, one has to love what they're teaching," Trumbower emphasizes with great conviction, before she willingly turns to help one of her students.

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Renee Park. Renee is a senior in the Magnet Program (finally!) and is psyched about a brand new year of Chips, Chips and more Chips! She's currently wondering why she took MathPhys with Silver Chips and how soon she'll die, but meanwhile, Renee's enjoying writing, reading, studying … More »

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