Some teachers know from childhood what they want to be when they grow up. Others have to search many paths before coming to rest on what feels like the best fit. For Meredith Middle School math and global studies teacher Chandra Oswalt, many roads had to be tried before realizing that what she wanted as a child was exactly what her heart desired.
“I wanted to be a teacher when I was a little girl, but then as I was going to college I explored a lot of other options,” Oswalt says. “Eventually I realized that my true passion was education. I really enjoy working with middle school-aged kids.”
With three classes of global studies and two math classes, Oswalt interacts with 140 different students.
“I love teaching middle schoolers because this is when children are trying to figure out who they are,” she says. “You can really see their individual personalities develop. This is a time of change, every day is different and exciting.”
This is Oswalt’s eighth year at Meredith and she enjoys the school for a multitude of reasons.
“I really like that our school has a diverse student population. The second reason is the commitment all the teachers have made towards becoming an International Baccalaureate school,” she says. “This incorporates best teaching practices with the standards provided from the Iowa Core. The IB mission statement’s goals are to create inquiring, knowledgeable and caring students.”
When Oswalt was a junior at Iowa State she declared education as her major. Having already taken a lot of math classes and math being one of her passions, she opted to get an endorsement in math.
“I was previously a history major and decided the best way to incorporate my enjoyment of social studies with my profession was to also gain an endorsement to teach social studies as well,” she says.
She feels that global studies is the ideal vehicle for students to gain an understanding of themselves, not only as Americans, but as integral members of the larger world community.
“In a global economy, this is a necessary concept,” she says.
Oswalt says she is most proud to see her former students come back and share their achievements so she can see just how far they have grown as individuals.