When Shannon Cline was in college, he had plans to go into communications with the intent to work in radio. Instead, he took a different path.
“When I got to college, I started exploring more classes, and I decided teaching was the way to go,” says Cline, a fifth grade teacher at Perry Elementary School and assistant football coach at Perry High School.
His experiences observing teachers in elementary classrooms and spending time with the students also played into his decision to pursue a career in teaching.
“I really enjoyed the energy of the kids and the interactions going on there,” says Cline, who has a degree in elementary education and endorsements in social studies and coaching from Iowa State University.
As the school year begins, Cline will share his expectations of both students and parents. One expectation he has of parents is to attend a math and reading night with their children, where they learn about the technology being used in school. For those without access to the technology, they can utilize the public library or play specific games that don’t require it, Cline says.
Getting all of the parents to support the school and take an active interest in their kids’ education, whether it’s reading to them at night or making sure forms are signed and returned, is the most challenging part of his job, he says.
While he understands that everyone is busy and has time constraints, Cline says “it’s making that time to show that you care.”
For Cline, caring about his students means really listening and taking a genuine interest in what they’re interested in, which helps fosters learning.
“If it’s important to them, it’s important to me,” Cline says. “If they tell me something and I can relate it to them at some other point in time, it gets them to participate and want to learn more.”
He also tries to teach students life lessons you don’t necessarily learn from textbooks, including the importance of respecting others.
“My job is not just to teach them how to read or do math. It’s to teach them how to be good citizens,” he says.