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Teacher Spotlight: Mandi Nunn

T-R PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM Fisher Elementary first grade teacher Mandi Nunn shows student Najma Zouaki how to do some math problems during class on Wednesday.

Meet Mandi Nunn, is a first grade teacher at Fisher Elementary in the Marshalltown School District.

Nunn, 37, is originally from Burlington. She obtained her degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. She received an endorsement for English as a second language from Viterbo and she is completing coursework for a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville.

The 2019-20 school is her 15th year of teaching first grade at Fisher Elementary.

Nunn and her husband, Jeffrey, have three boys — Carter, 11, Cohen, 7 and Beckett, 3.

Q: Why did you decide to become a teacher:

A: When I was a first grader, I knew I wanted to become a teacher when I grew up. My first grade teacher was dynamic and made learning fun and exciting and I wanted to be able to do the same for my own students someday. As a 7-year-old, I chose education as my career and I never looked back.

Q: What is it like being a first-grade teacher at Fisher Elementary?

A: Being a first grade teacher is wonderful! I spend each day with 20 6- and 7-year-olds and our day consists of literacy, math, science, social studies, health and specials. As a teacher, I analyze student data and adjust my instruction accordingly to meet all of my students’ needs. Furthermore, each day I give about 40 hugs, tie shoes, fix coat zippers, laugh with kids, play with kids and try to encourage and lift them up.

Q: What are the best aspects of your job?

A: The best aspect of my job is definitely the people. I adore the students that I work with and my colleagues are second to none. The students are definitely the reason that all teachers do what they do and it is no exception for me. Making a difference in the lives of students is the reason that I teach. My colleagues are amazing. There is such a positive culture at Fisher and so man y teachers that I can learn from.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you face:

A: In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges that teachers face is appropriately handling the challenging behaviors of a few students while maintaining the learning for the rest of the class. Even in very structured classrooms with set routines, learning can be lost when one student is struggling with a challenging behavior and that can be taxing. Another challenge is maintaining a healthy work/home balance. Prior to having children, I would spend countless hours at school because the “to do” list is never ending. Since having children, I utilize my planning time more efficiently. I plan with my teammates each day so that I am not only prepared for instruction, but also so I can spend the evening being present with my family.

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

A: I want the community to know that we are covering a wide variety of content with all of our student. We have students coming in with varying experiences and academic differences and we are developing them as learners that will be successful in the real world. Not only is the content varied, it is extremely rigorous. Schools don’t look like they did when I was in school. School is much more challenging in order for students to keep up with the demands of our ever-changing world. In addition to teaching academics, we are teaching social and emotional skills, daily. Our world is changing, which is causing more emotional strain on children than ever before, which is why it is so important that we talk to students and teach them about social and emotional skills. Lastly, I want people to know that MCSD is committed to preparing all learners and we truly believe that all means all.

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

A: I spend a lot of time cheering on my sons at soccer, basketball and baseball games. We are also very involved in activities at Journey Church. I like to read in my spare time and look forward to having more time to read for fun when my master’s degree is done.