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The Student News Site of Liberty High School

The Live Wire

LHS Teachers: their path to our classrooms

The career you’re planning on may not be what you end up doing. Find out how some LHS teachers varied from their plans, and why we’re glad they did.
According to Zippa, 83% of students say a teacher helped them improve their confidence and self-esteem. (CC0)
According to Zippa, 83% of students say a teacher helped them improve their confidence and self-esteem.

Everyone has a favorite subject in school, whether it is math, science, English, history or another class. Teachers all have unique stories about what made them get into teaching, and how they got where they are today. 

David Capper, a teacher at Liberty High School,  worked as a semi-engineer for 20 years. When he realized he wasn’t happy with where he was, he decided to become a math teacher.

“I decided that if I could have done everything over again, I probably would’ve been a teacher because I enjoyed coaching and helping people in the workplace… I thought coaching and helping students would be fun, and since I enjoyed math so much, I decided to become a math teacher,” Capper said. 

Capper found a program called RAPIL (Regents Alternative Pathway to Iowa Licensure) to help him get into teaching. Three years ago, after he finished RAPIL, he had the opportunity to start teaching at Liberty High School.

Anna Jabbari teaches English and journalism at Liberty High School. Jabbari earned her degree at the University of Iowa in communications and went on to work at an advertising agency for six months. She soon realized that this wasn’t the path she wanted to take. 

“I went back to school to get an English teaching degree, then I started student teaching at  Grundy Center in Dike-New Hartford. I went on to teach at a small school in southern Iowa for a couple of years, when I got my standard license I went on to Mid-Prairie for eight years and eventually came to Liberty and I’ve been here for two years,” Jabbari said. 

David McNair, a Spanish teacher at Liberty High School, had no interest in being a teacher until a life-changing trip to Spain. 

“I went to college at Des Moines Area Community College and I got an associate degree in business administration and then I went on to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology. As I was close to the end of my bachelor’s degree I started thinking, ‘What am I going to do with this?’ My choices were being a researcher, which I didn’t want to do, or teaching. At the same time, I was taking Spanish classes and I went to Spain for a summer program,” McNair said. 

When McNair went to Spain he was immediately hooked. When he returned from Spain, his advisor told him that if he took a few classes, he could double major in psychology and Spanish. 

McNair graduated and was a food and beverage manager for the Radisson Hotel for several years. He often used Spanish in that environment, such as in the kitchen, managing the hotel and restaurants, until the hotel shut down. 

“One day I came in for work, and the business had shut down. I had lost my job on the spot and didn’t know what to do, so I took a job selling cars because I needed to do something. After about a month of selling cars, I knew that was not what I wanted to do for a career so I started to think about it and I was like, ‘Why don’t you just teach Spanish?’” McNair explained. 

He worked to raise enough money to return to school and entered the University of Iowa College of Education, to work on his teaching certification and started student teaching. 

“I decided that I would go for a master’s… at the same time while I was student teaching, right when that ended in May, I went back to Spain to work on my master’s degree and then was offered a job at West High,” McNair said. 

After years of being at West, McNair was interested in coming to Liberty High School when it opened to help form the school. 

“Part of what I like about Spanish is it’s not just the language, it’s the culture. I enjoy that because I think one of the best gifts you can give somebody is cultural experience. Some things you’ll like, some things you won’t like, but the point is that it opens you up to realize that there’s more out there than what’s right here,” McNair said. 

Teaching is an experience that McNair is truly passionate about. Although it took him some time to get into teaching, he can’t see himself doing anything else. 

“I look back and ask myself, ‘Why did it take so long for me to find this path?’ Because it’s natural for me, it works, and I love what I do, and now that I’ve been doing it for so long I can’t see myself doing much of anything else. Teaching is about working with the kids and helping them build their future,” McNair states. 

From engineering to math, psychology to Spanish and communications to English, all of these teachers have unique backstories that make students truly appreciate what they do and how hard they worked to get here. 


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About the Contributor
Hadley Andersen
Hadley Andersen, Reporter
Hadley is a sophomore at Liberty and this is her first year on the Liberty Live Wire Staff. Most of her time outside of school is spent training as an equestrian, when she is not at her barn she enjoys spending time with family, reading, and watching movies.