TEACHER FEATURE

Renate Brunsvik – Lincoln Elementary School

Jun 2, 2009, 5:54 PM | Updated: Aug 4, 2022, 12:04 pm

Dear KSL Radio,
Please honor Renate Brunsvik, ESL (English as a second language) teacher at Lincoln Elementary School as an outstanding educator in Utah. She truly is an angel to the over 100 immigrant and refugee students at our school. We are a welcoming school for the world it seems, as many people new to the USA are placed in apartments near our school. We have 19 languages spoken in our halls! We proudly fly the flags of the homelands of our students beside our United States flag.

Mrs. Brunsvik took the assignment of being our full time ESL teacher to help transition non-English speaking students to our educational system. She quickly learned that there is more to the process than learning to speak words. Many of our children have only lived in refugee camps throughout the world, or lived in war ravaged countries and were witnesses to things that would crush my spirit. Flush toilets and snow are new and sometimes frightening. Before we can expect math and reading skills, we need to communicate basic life skills, and teach children to trust us because they are loved here. Mrs. Brunsvik radiates love in our school. New refugees are each given one blanket when they are placed in an apartment, along with very basic items by their sponsoring agency. Our children were coming to school cold, until Mrs. Brunsvik realized the problem. Now all new identified refugee students are given a bag with another blanket, coats and clothing (as needed) and a sincere welcome from Mrs. Brunsvik and our staff. She has collected new and gently used blankets and clothing from our staff and friends and anyone willing to donate. At every conference or parent gathering time she places clothing for children and adults out for anyone to take that needs it. She helps parents fill out job applications and even drives them to interviews. She draws clocks with the times children need to be at school and when they need to be picked up for parents that cannot tell time. Parents are invited to come to school to learn English with computer programs that she has set up and oversees on her own time. All of these things are done above and beyond the scope of her teaching assignments.

She teaches English, our customs, courtesies and lifestyles for newcomers to the United States, with a healthy dose of caring and love for the individual people she coaches. I have often heard her praise the efforts of everyone associated with “her” students. Parents are praised for the efforts they show when they are trying to learn our language and rules. Teachers find assistance from Mrs. Brunsvik when they need strategies to help some different and difficult students, and she always tells them how great they are when they work with her children. She makes sure our teachers are offered specialized training whenever it becomes available to assist them with ESL teaching skills. Often times it is a lack of understanding where students are coming from or their family circumstances that make all the difference. Mrs. Brunsvik takes the time to learn what the families need and can understand. She honors their heritage, while helping them fit into our society.

She has a wealth of resources to share learning techniques with our staff. Every learning experience is unique and planned differently. She has found that science projects and experiments can be a uniting and exciting experience. Mrs. Brunsvik and her aides spend many hours and many of their own resources to help our ESL students excel in Science.

Yes, Lincoln would still welcome the world without Mrs. Brunsvik. We could not welcome the world as kindly, lovingly or with the teaching expertise that we have with her at the helm of our ESL program. She does so much with quiet dignity and skill. She deserves to have accolades for all that she does. If you will so deservedly honor her I will guarantee that she will try to shift the spotlight away from herself! Isn’t that what angels do? Please give Mrs. Renate Brunsvik the thank you that she deserves. We will celebrate with her, and thank you greatly.

Sincerely,

Eileen Barlage
Secretary

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Renate Brunsvik – Lincoln Elementary School