When Sarah Berni first got into college, she didn’t think she was going to be a teacher, in fact she thought she’d be anything but a teacher. She soon ran out of gen ed credits and dropped out of college, unable to commit to a major.
Berni ended up at a telemarketing job. One day she heard about one woman who was celebrating her 20th anniversary at the mundane job. Desperate to avoid that fate, Berni decided to go back to college. When she was deciding what to go to college for, she decided to be a teacher because, “I’ve been told all my life that I should be a teacher and I didn’t want to believe it because I was stubborn and then finally at age 20-something, I was like ‘okay, they’re right’”.
Fast forward and nine years into her career, Berni enjoys her job. “I don’t think you have to love every job that’s out there, I think it just has to be something you can make a living in. But I thoroughly enjoy teaching.” Her favorite thing about teaching is, “The pay…. Just kidding. The opportunity to work with students and hopefully brighten their future, as cheesy as it is.”
Berni teaches sophomore and junior english classes as well as being the journalism adviser. She became the journalism adviser because she has had a lot of experience as a journalist. “they asked, ‘can anybody do this?’ and I said ‘well I can. I was editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper and I wrote for the UofU newspaper until I switched majors’ so I decided to do it and I love it.”
If anyone has had one of Berni’s classes, they already know this stuff and more about her because she shows all of her classes a powerpoint about herself on the first day of class. Most teachers would not even dream of doing this but Berni is not most teachers. She’s confident and bold and as she says on the first day, “My ego is very big.”
Speaking of the first day of school, Berni’s first day teaching was definitely a memorable one. “We had all 8 class periods in one day and I made it through all day until eighth period and I thought ‘this is okay, I can do this.’ This kid walks in late to my 8th period and says ‘sorry I was late, I was jerking in the hallway.’ And I stopped and I said ‘that’s not an appropriate topic of conversation in my classroom’ and he got super embarrassed and he’s like ‘IT’S A DANCE’ so for the rest of the year, the students threw the word jerk into conversation as much as they could ‘how many times did you jerk today?’”
After nine years of teaching, Berni has a lot of experience dealing with high school students and our sometimes petty problems. “It’s funny to see the things they get worked up about now because I think ‘oh that’s so cute, in three years that won’t matter to you. Take a deep breath and realize that adulthood will come very quickly. Most of the stuff that you stress about now will all be gone.”
Berni obviously has not always had this insight. She was once a country-loving, journalist high school student who was clueless about the world. “I said a lot of dumb things. Like one day my siblings were talking about getting their tires rotated and I walked in and said “wait a second, when they rotate your tires, do they like switch places? And they said ‘yeah, what did you think they did?’ and I was like ‘put them up in the air and spin them around.”
Other than asking seemingly obvious questions about cars, one of her most prominent high school memories was her senior prom night. ““My senior year, when I went to prom, it was held at the rice-eccles stadium and my date and I snuck onto the football field and danced on the 50 yard line.” If that does not sound like something out of a movie, I don’t know what does.
Moving on from teaching and high school related things, here is some stuff to know about Berni that she won’t have in her infamous powerpoint.
If she were to have any job in the world, Berni’s first choice would be a racecar driver. “It’s sounds fun. You get to drive fast with no consequences.”
If a movie were to be made about her life, Berni would make it a tragic comedy and choose Anne Hathaway to play her. “When I was younger, the first Princess Diaries came out and all of my friends told me I was Anne Hathaway. I think they were just trying to tell me that I look very different without my glasses and when I put on makeup. Even now when I do that, students think that they have a substitute.”
An ideal Saturday for Berni is a day where she does not have to clean and she can take a nap. On the opposite end of lounging, Berni’s dream vacation would be to go and see the Pyramids in Egypt and the Hagia Sophia in Turkey.
All in all, don’t be intimidated by Berni’s mean reputation, she’s actually one of the most hilarious and nerdy people at Bonneville. She is one of the best teachers I have encountered. I have been begging her to let me write this feature on her since I was a sophomore because more people should know how freaking awesome she is. If you haven’t had her as a teacher yet, you are definitely missing out on an incredible class.