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Teacher Spotlight: Tara Klaas

T-R PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM
Fourth grade Anson Elementary teacher Tara Klaas helps a student with a classroom assignment. She has taught at Anson Elementary for 18 years.

Meet Tara Klaas, fourth grade teacher at Anson Elementary in the Marshalltown School District.

Klaas, 41, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with degrees in early childhood education and elementary education. She received her master’s degree in education from Viterbo University in Des Moines and has taught at Anson Elementary for 18 years.

Klaas was not always a fourth grade teacher. She originally taught third grade and only this year was moved to a fourth grade classroom.

Klaas’ family include her twins – Hannah and Zechariah, 8. They are in third grade and attend Anson Elementary.

“I live right here in Marshalltown near Rogers Elementary School where I can hear the kids playing on the playground,” she said. “But I have spent most of my life living on farms and ranches of various sizes and types.”

Q: Why did you decide to become a teacher?

A: I have always enjoyed working with children. I love watching them grow and gain confidence. It is exciting to see them become the best versions of themselves they can be.

Q: What is it like being a teacher at Anson Elementary?

A: One of the best parts of working at Anson is that my co-workers are like a big family. They are always there to support and celebrate with you. I have many people I can lean and depend on both in and outside of school. The students at Anson are great. I am excited to go to work every day. I get so many smiles and hugs every day. I have high expectations for all my students and they live up to them.

Q: What are the best aspects of your job?

A: One of the best aspects of my job is the ability to form relationships and trust with students and families. It is amazing to watch a student who has been struggling, get their “aha” moment. I also love it that teachers are able to collaborate to plan effective and engaging lessons together. We also work together to make sure that all students get their needs met, whether they need intervention or enrichment.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you face?

A: The biggest challenge is a lack of resources. For the past several years the state funding for education has not kept up with inflation. The school district has worked hard to do what they can with the budget to lessen the impact on students. However, every teacher I know uses their own money to buy needed supplies. I also struggle with my work/home life balance. There is so much to do to help my students that I often can’t finish it all within the school day. I bring it home and work on it after my own children have gone to bed. I usually work at least 10 hours of unpaid overtime per week in order to meet the diverse needs of my students.

Q: What do you want the people of Marshalltown to know about your job, the school, the district, etc.?

A: I love my job. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I feel like my children are getting a fantastic education in Marshalltown. I love the diversity of students we have and all the opportunities that are offered by our school district.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time:

A: In my spare time, I like to read and knit. I also love to do crafts and play games with my children. When I have the time and resources, I also like to travel to see new places and have new adventures.