Second grade teacher Susan Buising has a fondness for Western Hills Elementary School in West Des Moines that perhaps reaches a little deeper than most, if not all of her peers.
As a child growing up in the western suburb, she attended Western Hills, so each day she walks through the halls of the school is like taking a walk down memory lane.
“The building has changed a lot, but the basic feel is still here,” says Buising who graduated from Valley High School in 1985, Iowa State University in 1989 and later earned her master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1993. “Last year, I worked with a teacher who was here when I was a student, which was fun.”
This marks her seventh year of teaching at Western Hills and 23rd year overall in the profession. She teaches second grade students about the fundamentals of reading, writing, math, science and social studies. She also includes units like “What Makes Me Sick” in her lesson plans to teach students how to practice good hygiene.
Buising says she likes working with second grade students because they are eager to learn.
“They still love their teacher and they are full of enthusiasm. They want to please,” she says. “It’s fun to watch their reading and math skills improve throughout the school year. By the time they leave here, they are ready for third grade.”
Buising says in addition to the students, the staff and parents at Western Hills make her job rewarding.
“There’s a lot of diversity here, and I love that. Everyone is very accepting of one another,” she says. “The parents are a huge support to the staff, which has the best interest of the kids in mind and that’s why I love to work here. Time flies when you have a job that you love.”