Christ Lutheran School's newest teacher knew at an early age that she wanted to be working in a classroom some day.
"I remember when I came home from kindergarten, I told my mom I wanted to be a teacher. I really love kids a lot. That's why I wanted to go into teaching," said Petrea Schwahn.
Schwahn is teaching first through fourth grades at the school that is located in West Bloomfield.
She grew up on a dairy farm near Reedsville.
"I went to a Lutheran school similar to here," Schwahn said. "I really enjoyed growing up in the Lutheran school system."
During high school, she taught Sunday School and did service work.
She soon felt called to do service work further from home.
"When I was younger, my parents always told me, 'Where your feet are standing, that's your mission field,'" Schwahn said. "Growing up, all I knew was Wisconsin."
When she learned about a mission trip to Ecuador, she decided to go.
"That's really what started my heart for missions," she said.
After graduating from high school, Schwahn headed to Concordia University in Mequon for her studies in education.
During her time there, she studied abroad in India and did her student teaching at an international school in Shanghai.
While she was at Concordia, she met many students who were from Taiwan. That resulted in her interest in going there after college.
"I always had a heart for missions. I went to Taiwan for four years. I taught English and the Bible there," she said.
Schwahn taught at a 45-year-old school that has between 2,500 and 3,000 students.
She had a good support system in that there were 12 missionaries there.
"I got to teach all different age ranges from as young as 3 to fight grade," she said. "It was good preparation for here.
Schwahn enjoyed teaching and living in Taiwan.There were adjustments, since she lived in a country in which 5 percent of the population were Christians.
In addition, Taiwan is about a quarter the size of Wisconsin but has about 23 million people living there, she said.
"I really loved it there. It's just one of those things," Schwahn said. "God calls you at different times, at different places."
Teaching there was a great opportunity for her.
"But, then I felt that God was calling me back to the states," she said. "Christ Lutheran was the first one I interviewed with when I came back."
She said the school is a good fit for her.
Schwahn is enjoying her class of 12 students, describing them as down to earth, bright students who love to share.
"It's nice I'm with experienced teachers. They've been very supportive and helpful. The congregation is very welcoming," she said.
Her first school year at Christ Lutheran is going well.
Each day, when she goes home, she thinks about what made that particular day special.
Her students are learning about Taiwan, as she shares something with them about the country each school day.
"I even taught them a little Chinese," Schwahn said. "It's neat. I hope to teach them about other countries and see what they're interested in."
She is enjoying getting to know the area and in her free time, likes to be outside, walking, biking or running.
"Now that I'm close to my family, I like to go home on weekends," Schwahn said.
Her goal this school year is to get to know her students and how to help them progress.
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