Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Julianna Balmer



Ms. Julianna Balmer, English Department

Sophia Kenworthey, Staff Reporter

Meet Ms. Julianna Balmer! She is in her fourth year at Downingtown West, and she currently teaches 10th-grade English and 12th-grade Multicultural Literature. Read on to learn more about the teacher and the person.

WEST SIDE BEAT: What is your favorite part about being a teacher?
JULIANNA BALMER: It’s pretty cliché, but I truly love investing in students and colleagues. We each have special stories that speak to who we are, and I find it beautiful that we can share in authentic conversations. I think teaching lends itself well to spending time with people because, in sharing who we are, we teach each other what it means to be human and we can share in the great and ugly moments of life.

If you had to teach a different subject, what would it be?
JB: Two subjects come to mind: public speaking or criminal justice/law. I’d teach public speaking because as individuals we all have a voice and it matters that we know how to speak well. I’d love to encourage people in making a difference by knowing how to effectively and passionately communicate what they care about. Or, I’d teach something related to criminal justice/law. I know that’s not something offered here at West, but it’s something I’m passionate about because I believe it matters that people are represented well in law, especially that those who don’t have a voice are properly advocated for.

What do you do during your personal time away from school?
JB: I’m currently in graduate school so that takes up a lot of my personal time, but otherwise some things I enjoy doing are: reading with a hot cup of tea, writing poetry, paddleboarding on calm waters with sunny skies, hanging out with family and friends, and painting.

Do you apply your teaching abilities anywhere else in your life other than school?
JB: I’m involved with Young Life, which is a blast, and I teach at my church in Sunday school.

If you could have any other job besides a teacher, what would it be?
JB: If I could have any other job, I would be a victim’s advocate in the courtroom to represent those who’ve been wrongly hurt.

If you didn’t work/live in Pennsylvania, where would you work/live?
JB: I would like one day to teach English as a second language at an international high school or college, so hopefully I’ll live somewhere else in the world. Fun fact: I taught ESL in China for nine summers. That’s what got me into education! I don’t have a specific place in mind since I’d be happy teaching anywhere.

What is something you cannot live without?
JB: Oof, this is a hard one since I’m not very materialistic, but I think a physical object I cannot live without is my Bible because in it are many notes from the conversations I’ve shared with God; my faith is central to who I am. A more abstract “something” I cannot live without are serious, silly, sad, genuine conversations with people. I don’t consider myself the best conversationalist, but I appreciate real, community-driven interactions.

West is so grateful to have Ms. Balmer on staff!