Teaching Beyond the ClassroomBy Mikayla Walker on November 25, 2019
At the age of 10 years old, Kevin Shuneson (B.A. ’83) had a general idea of what he wanted to do when he grew up–become an influential educator.
Shuneson recalls his teacher Mr. McClean, who made learning exciting. He was inspired by the way that Mr. McClean built strong relationships with students by getting to know them and even playing with them at recess.
After moving, Shuneson had more inspiration for his future because of his principal Walter Honshell and basketball coach, Norm Randall. They instilled the passion in him to educate others and grow alongside them.
After earning his bachelor's degree at Cornerstone University, Shuneson taught fifth grade for five years at NorthPointe Christian Schools. He was also involved in NPC Athletics, coaching basketball and tennis. He then transferred to Sparta Public Schools where he taught seventh-grade language arts until switching to fourth grade for twenty-eight years. The principal at Sparta then asked if he wanted to teach the physical education programs for third to fifth grades.
For the past three years, Shuneson has been growing alongside his students. His new role has allowed him to get to know his students on a more personal level and mentor/teach them for more than one year.
A few years ago, Shuneson was listening to Focus on the Family, a popular radio program broadcast on 91.3 WCSG, and heard a teacher share about how he connected with students. In the morning, before class starts, this educator would take down the chair of a student he knew was struggling and specifically pray for them.
Upon hearing this radio episode, Shuneson was inspired to continue to pray for his students because "they don't care how much you know but how much you care." It is the little things that they may not see from you but knowing that you care for them can change their bad day into a good one.
Shuneson urges future Teacher Education Division alumni to pray for their students and get connected.
"Go to the sporting events and get to know their families," Shuneson said. "It may seem like little things to do, but they have a huge impact."