Retiring Barbara Hershberger Loves Literature, Literacy

Barbara Hershberger

As she prepares to retire after this semester, Barbara Hershberger reflects on the many books she has acquired.

“I love all my courses—especially my literacy classes,” Hershberger says. “And how can you teach literacy without books?”

Hershberger, currently part-time faculty, teaches four literacy courses. Her favorite is Children’s Literature.

“My favorite children’s book is Johnny Tremaine, because I think it’s an excellent balance of history and fiction,” Hershberger says. “I love history, biography.”

Hershberger’s own history began with her salvation while in high school. She originally planned to go into business, but working with Sunday school classes gave her an interest in teaching. Although she began studying at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, Hershberger graduated from Tennessee Temple University with her degree in elementary education. Hershberger and her husband, David, came to Maranatha in 1974. She earned a Master’s Degree in Literacy from UW-Whitewater during her 33 years teaching at Maranatha.

“I know it sounds like a long time—it is a lifetime—but it’s gone so fast,” Barbara Hershberger says. “That’s life. That’s ministry. We’ve seen so many students graduate, and the education department produces teachers that aren’t limited to just America. We have people teaching as missionaries, in home schools, and at schools in other countries. Our grads are literally all over the world.”

One such graduate is Kristen Lloyd (’11), an elementary education major with a special education minor. Lloyd, currently teaching sixth grade on the island of Guam, had many classes with Hershberger and considered her as one of her favorite and most inspiring teachers.

“She pushed me to think,” Lloyd says. “I am incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to take so many classes from her. She has truly changed my teaching and my life for the better.”

Hershberger considers herself blessed to have taught students like Lloyd during more than three decades at Maranatha.

“I’ve enjoyed this so much because of the people. Teachers have to love their subject, and I love literacy, but I wouldn’t enjoy it if the people in my classes were not the high-quality, Christian-ministry-minded people we have at the College. I’d just like to say thank you to my students for the opportunity to be their teacher. They’ve made my life worthwhile.”

–By Deb Lew