by Niah Lilly
Opelika Observer


Dr. Burks is a former teacher at Opelika High School and author of the online book, Tawanda’s Quest. She is currently the assistant professor of foundations and secondary education at the University of Auburn in Montgomery.

The story is of a young girl whose brother is murdered and she goes on a search to find out what happened to him. Burks thought about her own personal relationship with her brother and how something like that would have affected her.

“I have a close relationship with my own brother and the story came out of him. What if a young girl lost her brother and how it would change her life,” Burks asked. “No one ever talks about siblings after a child dies. That was also part of my reasoning.”

The book is online at The book can be purchased at for $14.95.

While Burks is enjoying her new role at AUM, she does admit to missing teaching and working with teens.

“I do miss working with teens sometimes. I do miss 16-year-olds. But, I find a joy in teaching others to have that same passion and joy that I had,” Burks said. “Sixteen is a difficult age and there is a communication barrier. Learning how to communicate and see their point, being a better listener and having compassion is essential to being a better teacher .”

Burks taught English classes while at Opelika High School and compares the learning styles of the high school students and college students.

“The similarities, I think that they both really love teachers who are energetic and who are out of the box. They want to be challenged. In that regard, they are similar. They like activities; they don’t want to sit and be bored but do activities. High school students love that and are visual. College students are visual. They want the lesson to be made real to them.”

She does admit to missing teaching high school English classes and will be teaching English this summer at AUM. She also admits that she has not taught English in a year. She will teach professional writing for educators which she describes as being “right up my alley.”

Burks still maintains the goal of moving from being a full college professor to perhaps one day becoming president of a university.

“That is still my goal. I see my goals changing and that is in a different zone right now. I have a lot I want to do and that is one of them,” Burks said.

She also gives advice to students and secondary education majors.

“If your profession is teaching and you want to be a teacher at secondary level, you should be able to communicate effectively with that age group.”

The doctor also has some words of wisdom for high schoolers.

“If you pay attention in high school, your first two years of college are less stressful because you will have the basic foundation,” Burks said.