For Gull Lake High School students, the end of the first trimester has come and first trimester exams, beginning on Friday, November 22, have students cramming for what seems like endless information and endless preparation, but for trio class teacher, BreeAnn Tarnas it’s not just the end of the first trimester of school, it’s also the end of Tarnas’ pregnancy trimester.
Tarnas has been teaching at Gull Lake High School for five years now. However, she did not always know that she wanted to be a teacher. Tarnas went to a local university, Western Michigan where she spent a total of eight years earning both her bachelor and master degrees.
After college, Tarnas pursued her marketing career, but soon found herself feeling burned out. It was then in her mid to late twenties that she began looking at other career opportunities in which she would still be able to use her marketing background and put it to good use.
Tarnas found that teaching checked of many of her boxes in her search for a new career.
“Teaching kind of met all of my life requirements, and it was where I saw myself going,” said Tarnas.
It was easy for Tarnas to determine that she wanted to teach high school rather than in elementary or middle school.
“I don’t think I was cut out for elementary school but power to those who can,” said Tarnas.
After deciding that teaching was what she wanted to do, Tarnas began a new chapter of her life. She began working her career as a teacher at Gull Lake High school in 2014. She is currently teaching marketing, intro to business and college and career readiness (for sophomores).
Tarnas is also active in the Gull Lake store and helps in the school’s business program, DECA.
Tarnas shared that she has become “besties” with Brittany Kiser, Jack VanderSluis and Andrea Hudson since she has started teaching at Gull Lake. It was in DECA where Tarnas became met and became good friends with Andrea Hudson.
“I would say working together in the school store and DECA has brought us closer together,” said Hudson.
Hudson has taken over the school’s DECA program for the most part. This year as Tarnas prepares for her transition to full-time mother. Tarnas and Hudson share some similarities: they both went to Western Michigan and share the same love for the business world.
Besides being a teacher of three classes, Tarnas also works another job. She is a mother to a beautiful fourteen-month girl named Charlotte, who goes by Charlie. Tarnas is also pregnant with her second child and first baby boy who’s name remains undecided for the time being.
“It’s so hard for me to name them before I see them,” said Tarnas.
The baby is due on December 31 of 2019, New Year’s Eve. After the baby is born, Tarnas is taking twelve weeks of maternity leave to spend the first weeks of her new baby boy’s life with him. Twelve weeks is the span of one whole trimester at Gull Lake High school. The effort put into planning a trimester can seem excessive, but it is much needed in order that the class would run smoothly. This is especially true for Tarnas since she is not only planning ahead for the next trimester, but she is planning it in a way that her substitute, Mr. Mutch, can teach and manage her class while she is away.
“It’s not easy,” said Tarnas regarding how she balances being a mother and a working teacher. She shared that before becoming a mother she would stay and finish her work at school, but after becoming a mother that extra work time has not remained in place. By three o’clock she is packing up to go and get Charlie from daycare.
The balancing and hard work that Tarnas has put into being a teacher and a mother pay off.
“My favorite thing, it makes me kind of sad almost, is watching kids grow up for their freshman year to their senior year and then watching them go on,” said Tarnas.