Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Susan Van Kirk  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction Other

Born: in Galesburg, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Susan Van Kirk on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Susan Van Kirk was born in Galesburg, Illinois, and educated at Knox College (BA) and University of Illinois (M. Ed).

Biographical and Professional Information

Susan taught Monmouth High School for 34 years.(1968-2002) Following retirement from Monmouth High School, she began teaching at Monmouth College. Once Van Kirk earned her graduate degree she bagan writing on a freelance basis and was hired to write Cliffs Notes for ''The Scarlet Letter'', ''All Quiet on the Western Front'', ''My Antonia'', ''The Age of Innocence'', ''The Importance of Being Earnest'', ''Hiroshima'', ''Of Mice and Men'', and ''The Secret Life of Bees''. Currently she divides her time between her home in Monmouth, Illinois, and Phoenix, Arizona.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Education of a Teacher: Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks
ISBN: 1450250963

iUniverse. 2010

"In 1968, at age twenty-one, I was sure I had all the answers I needed to know about teaching five classes a day in a real high school ... I had no idea how na´ve I was!" Every teacher's career is a journey of discovery that begins with rookie insecurities and moves toward self-confidence and understanding. When Susan Van Kirk drove into little Monmouth, Illinois, in 1968-straight out of college, with her teaching degree in hand-she thought she was ready to teach English and speech to high school students. She didn't realize that, for the rest of her career, she would both teach and be taught by a town, a school, and the students who entered her life. A veteran of thirty-four years in public high school teaching, Van Kirk will take you on a passionate and unforgettable journey through one teaching life. Meet her students and experience the events that molded a rookie teacher into a veteran. This montage of stories covers the years 1968 to 2008 they describe her early fears about classroom discipline, plots to overthrow "the rookie," handling drug overdoses, the devastating first student death, and a challenge to a major Kurt Vonnegut book in her classroom.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)

Contact Susan by:

By snail mail: P.O. Box 72, Monmouth, IL 61462

By phone: 309-734-4454

By email: