Angela Van Batavia, middle school teacher, talks educating yourself, running marathons and dealing with Primary Immunodeficiency in The Pitch Questionnaire

Occupation: Middle school teacher, mom, wife, cross-country coach
Twitter handle: @readingvan

Hometown: Moore, Oklahoma
Current neighborhood: North of the river
What I do: I try to teach my children (my own three and the other 130 in my classes) to be compassionate, considerate, open-minded and self-sufficient, while I try to stay healthy.

What’s your addiction? Coffee, running/walking, Oklahoma Sooners football, Burt’s Bees chapstick
What’s your game? Guilting. If this was an Olympic sport, I’d be the reigning gold medalist.
What’s your drink? Omission Beer, coffee, fizzy water (aka sparkling water)

Where’s dinner? Most of the time, my house. If we are out with kids, Tasty Thai. If we are out, grown-ups only, Ixtapa or Malay Café.
What’s on your KC postcard?
Springtime view of Park University. That’s what brought me to KC in the first place. I’ll never forget how green, hilly and covered with trees the Kansas City area was as we drove in on 45 Highway off I-635 from Oklahoma. Northwest Missouri is beautiful; I think some people who were born and raised here don’t realize this. Or maybe they just forget.

Finish these sentences: “Kansas City got it right when …” Walking and biking trails became a priority. The Riverfront Heritage Trail is a wonderful place to jog or walk, and it’s become a catalyst for creation of other nearby trails.

“Kansas City screwed up when …” It was deemed that KCI, in its current state, is sufficient.
“Kansas City needs …” Warmer winters.

“As a kid, I wanted to be …” A baton twirler for the Oklahoma Sooners, so I could twirl and spin in one of those crystal-encrusted leotards during halftime.

“In five years, I’ll be …” Too old to have a mid-life crisis.

“I always laugh at …” My husband. He’s the funniest person I know.

“I’ve been known to binge watch …” HGTV. I’m a middle-age, suburban-mom stereotype.

“I can’t stop listening to …” KCUR.

“My dream concert lineup is …” The Highwaymen — Waylon, Willie, Kris and Johnny, with Merle Haggard opening. Maybe appearances by Sting and Lenny Kravitz to add a bit of non-country variety.

“I just read …” The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. It’s a YA fiction book. I try to read a couple YA books a week, so I can recommend things to my students.

What’s your hidden talent? I can read and comprehend freakishly fast. Last time I tested, I could read and comprehend between 600 and 700 words per minute.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Gluten. Impulse shopping. And using real-life “texting” phrases and words when I text. It legitimately took me over a year to use “u” instead of “you.” I still get a bit of a rebel thrill when I text and can abbreviate.
The best advice I ever got: The only way through it is through it.
Worst advice? That $40 tattoo of Woodstock (Snoopy’s bird friend) will look great. You should totally do it.

My sidekick? Probably my middle child, Marin. She will run errands with me when no one else wants to.

What is your spirit animal?
Can I be one of those little plastic flamingos that stands in a cute little old lady’s front yard?
Who is your hero? Notorious R.B.G.
Who (or what) is your nemesis? Close-minded ignorance
What’s your greatest struggle right now? Staying positive
My favorite toy as a child: I didn’t have a whole lot of toys growing up. I do remember for my seventh birthday I got a Michael Jackson record player and Jerry Reed’s “The Bird” record. I was over the moon!
My dating triumph/tragedy? Triumph: When I drove six hours to Iowa and told my long-distance boyfriend (now husband) it was time for us to get married.
My brush with fame: I won the Showcase Showdown on The Price Is Right in 2003.
My soapbox: Educate yourself! It’s your responsibility! Read nonfiction — real nonfiction, not just someone’s blog. Remember we are not the only country on the planet. Study geography, look at a map!
My recent triumph: After three years of searching for answers as to why I was always sick, I was finally diagnosed in 2012 with primary immunodeficiency, a group of nearly 300 diseases in which part of the person’s immune system is missing or not functioning correctly. I now have the resources I need and have a better understanding of my condition. This past March, I was able to run in my seventh marathon! It was my slowest time, at 4:27, but I never stopped!

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