From Seuss to Shakespeare

By Khrystyna Halatyma
Staff Writer
Pictured above is English teacher Allison Kreutzer. She developed a love for Shakespeare when she was only eight years old.
As a child, English teacher Allyson Kreutzer could have been playing with her many Madame Alexander dolls or reading any of the numerous stories in her antique bookcase.
Instead, eight-year-old Kreutzer picked up William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” – a tragedy known for its dark subject matter.
Considering that Kreutzer’s father was a workaholic English teacher and that her mother read to her at night, this latest development shouldn’t have come as a surprise.
Sitting up in her favorite canopy bed, surrounded by dotted Swiss wallpaper and butterfly bed covers, Kreutzer discovered Shakespeare’s work.
“It scared me; somebody probably should have stopped me from reading ‘Macbeth’ when I was [only] eight,” Kreutzer said.
The part that frightened Kreutzer the most was when the “good guy” character becomes evil.
“I didn’t understand everything, but I got the concept of it, and I totally fell in love,” Kreutzer said.
Kreutzer feels about Shakespeare the way some people feel about music: it just takes a couple minutes of exposure to lift her mood.
Years later, nothing has changed. Kreutzer’s love for English literature has just blossomed into something more.
That blossoming was due in part part to Kreutzer’s favorite professor at NIU, Gustaaf Van Cromphout.
“[He was] the most brilliant person I have ever met,” said Kreutzer. “He showed me that a person can be brilliant and be warm [at the same time].”
Unfortunately, VanCromphout died in 2005, but his picture still hangs by Kreutzer’s desk.  When she enters her classroom every morning, she is reminded of her favorite professor and role model.
Kreutzer teaches language arts and literature every day to high school students along with fellow English teacher Teri Buczinsky. They have been working alongside each other for about six or seven years.
According to Buczinsky, Kreutzer has recently finished reading “Middle March” by George Eliot.  They talk about books frequently, according to Buczinsky.
“[Remember] this is somebody that’s got four kids plus a demanding job,” Buczinsky said. “So you can tell by her priorities that reading is important to her.”
Kreutzer comes home to her other love, her four children: Lena, 11, Walter, 7, Maren, 5, Christian, 16 months, and her husband, Paul.
“[They are] the joy and center of my life,” Kreutzer says.
Kreutzer’s oldest daughter, Lena, reads as much as her mother did. She hasn’t read any Shakespeare, though, and Kreutzer hasn’t recommended it.
“When I tell her to read something, it’s like the kiss of death,” Kreutzer said. “She won’t touch it.”
Kreutzer is glad to settle for her children reading anything at all, and even though it’s not always easy to have four young kids in the house all needing attention, Kreutzer manages to get everything done. Whenever she gets a moment of free time, Kreutzer reads.

“Reading is like breathing,” Kreutzer said. “I have no memories about not being able to read.”