Classroom Feature: Debbie Heitman, 9-12 Language Arts


Mrs. Debbie Heitman begins her classes with a writing prompt, often asking students fun or philosophical questions. It is a great warm up before beginning class and, as one senior phrased it, “the prompt writing makes class interesting and fun.”

Each month we’re featuring a different class or grade here at Sacred Heart School.

Mrs. Debbie Heitman grew up in Wisconsin and Illinois where she attended public elementary school and then Catholic middle and high school. She moved to Grand Forks to attend the University of North Dakota where she earned her Bachelors in English as an Education Major along with her English as a Second Language Certification. Just for fun she also majored in Philosophy. After graduation she began teaching at Sacred Heart School where she just recently celebrated her 16th year here.

She says, “I get excited about watching students get invested in a project, when they roll up their sleeves and really dig into learning; then, they proudly share their results. The Freshman demonstrational speeches, the Sophomores authoring and illustrating children’s books, the Juniors reciting the Gettysburg address or singing Native American poetry, and Seniors holding mock interviews, producing Beowulf films, and standing before the school community in the senior debate all give students opportunities to shine, invest in what they are learning, and work collaboratively, creatively and actively.

I have remained dedicated to teaching at Sacred Heart because the most important aspect in my life is my faith in Jesus Christ, and my call to encourage students in their growing faith. Each subject area that we study involves a talent or gift God has given us. Literature across the ages allows us to look at the human pursuit of truth, meaning and worth.”

What her students say,
“Your class is unique because you challenge the students and care about their academic success in a way that seems more involved and meaningful.” – SHS senior.

“English is a language made up of many different components that are not always the easiest to understand. Mrs. Heitman breaks down each component so that when we leave the classroom, we feel like we accomplished something that day.” – SHS junior.

“Mrs. Heitman’s class is unique because she makes her lessons understandable for everyone, and will make sure everyone understands.” – SHS sophomore.

“We do a variety of different activities throughout the year, for example public speaking.”  - SHS freshman.

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