‘Never a boring day’

Last week marked a celebration of educators across America, and five teachers from Marshalltown Schools shed light on what it’s like to prepare students for the future.

“Teaching students to set goals and accomplish them is really essential in all stages of life,” said Hoglan Elementary kindergarten teacher Steph Goos. “I teach kindergarten, so it’s really exciting because we’re setting the stage for learning success by developing activities that are motivating and rewarding.”

Fellow Hoglan kindergarten teacher Amy Pollard said time spent with young learners is valuable.

“I teach them to read and to write … and teach them character traits, really laying the foundation for their future education,” she said. “I get to spend all day with 22 kids that put a smile on your face every single day.”

Pollard said her students make her laugh and smile every day, and that they’re excited about learning.

“I couldn’t ask for a better job,” she said.

Anson Elementary fourth grade teacher Abby Stanfield said teachers don’t just help with academic development.

“We’re helping them with their education, but we’re also helping them with their relationships … with how parents can educate their kids, there’s a bigger picture than just school,” she said. “You’re the teacher trying to teach them the content, but they bring so much [from] outside of school that you’re helping them to deal with those pieces as well.”

Stanfield said teaching requires dedication.

“It is hard work, it is not an 8-4 and working 9 months out of the year,” she said. “Many of the teachers take work home, they work at night, they work on the weekends … they’re taking education classes during the summer, they might be tutoring in the summer.”

Anson English language learners (ELL) instructor Jennifer Janssen said she enjoys working with the district’s diverse students and families. She also said teachers must be willing to instruct regardless of the challenges that may come with individual students.

“Every student comes with something different to share to our learning environment,” Janssen said.

Miller Middle School English teacher Lucas Johnson said teachers can have a profound impact on a student’s life, even if they only teach them for a school year.

“One of the things that attracted me and attracted a lot of people to the profession is the ability to help people along their journey,” he said. “It’s important to keep sight of the big picture, we have contact with kids for about 180 days and then they’re on to the next step.”

Several of the teachers, including Goos, Pollard and Johnson, said they have family members who were or still are educators.

“I’m a third-generation English teacher, so teaching is part of my family’s DNA,” Johnson said, adding he learned teaching is challenging, but rewarding, from having been in the profession. “I think a lot of people feel like they have a good idea of what it’s like to be a teacher because they were in school once, but, from experience, I can say it’s a lot different being on the student side of things and being on the teacher side of things.”

Goos said her grandma and aunt both taught, offering inspirtation for her to become an educator.

“My mom was a teacher … she was a great role model for me,” Pollard said.

All of the teachers said they take very seriously the role of teaching new generations and helping guide them to success after school.

“We all have teachers that we thank in our lives … we wouldn’t be where we are without the teachers that have affected us in the past,” Goos said. “We are teachers in one aspect or another.”

——–

Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com