History teacher and football coach Erik Iverson discovered it’s possible to get paid to tell stories about Abraham Lincoln.
Erik Iverson doesn’t notice me as I enter his room, he’s busy at his desk grading stacks of papers, and I can tell that he completely forgot about our interview. If you look around Iverson’s room, you will notice that the majority of the posters in his walls are dedicated to Lincoln. “He’s definitely my favorite President of all time. He was able to keep the nation together in its most violent period.”
He likes to keep his classes interesting by reading from his painfully unfunny joke book in a deadpan voice. “I like Ivy because he’s funny and he teaches in a way I can relate to,” says former APUSH student Trent Foli. Instead of forcing the class to memorize names and dates, Iverson likes to tell entertaining and occasionally inappropriate stories about historical figures.
Mr. Iverson has been a teacher in Central’s history department for 20 years but before he became a teacher he served in the National Guard. “It was okay, I guess,” he says. “I met some good people there and it helped finance my education.” Iverson has always been fascinated by history, but he didn’t think he could turn his fascination into a career. “When I was younger, I had a job at a grocery store and I kept talking about Abraham Lincoln with my coworkers, and they would just stare at me like I was weird. Then I realized that I could get paid to have people stare at me while I talk about Lincoln, and I wanted to become a history teacher ever since.”
“There were a lot of injuries that hurt the football team, but I enjoyed the time I got to spend with the seniors this season.”
In addition to teaching, Iverson is also the head coach for the Cobblers football team. When I mention football, the frustration of their winless season is visible on his face. “We worked really hard this year and it sucks to not win a single game. There were a lot of injuries that hurt us, but I enjoyed the time I got to spend with the seniors this season.” Football has always held a special place in Iverson’s heart. “I’ve had a passion for the game since I was little and I wanted to become a coach to keep that connection.” One glance at the life-sized cardboard cut-out of John Elway in the corner of the room shows his love for the Denver Broncos. “They’re obviously struggling this year,” he says. “But I had very low expectations for them so I’m not too disappointed.”
Our interview is cut short when the bell rings and students begin filing into the room. For my last question, I ask him what his least favorite part of his job is, and as soon as the words leave my mouth he glances at the mountain of papers covering his desk and in his deadpan voice replies, “Grading.”
Photo by Trevor Luken