Jill Caruth may or may not be a natural born morning person, but dozens of laughing and smiling little faces make her one each day at Franklin Elementary School in Boone.
To some, it may sound like a raucous caucus as the students wander in bright and early, but to Caruth it’s music to her ears.
“I like it in the morning when they just come in because they are just so full of everything. They have so many stories to share, and they have to tell about all the things they’ve done,” the veteran teacher says with a smile and a laugh of her own.
Those first few moments of the day are assurance that she chose well when she chose her career path.
A 1983 graduate of Stratford High School, Caruth says she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do during her first year at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny. That changed when she signed up for an education class.
“It was like an observation class, and I thought right away that’s what I wanted to do,” she recalls.
Caruth transferred to the University of Northern Iowa and earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1987. She taught in Perry for three years and at United Community one year before coming to Boone nearly 20 years ago. Over the years, she’s taught kindergarten and first grade, but has spent the majority of her years at the second grade level.
“I just enjoy them at this age,” she says. “They’re really interested in learning; and they’re learning to read and write, and I enjoy being part of that.”
Second grade, Caruth notes, is an important transitional year, getting kids ready for the educational demands that quickly mount in third grade and beyond. Second grade is also a time for kids to learn the independent study skills that will help them in future grades.
Most of all, Caruth wants her students to know that she cares.
“It’s so important that they make progress and to learn to read and write and do math, that’s our ultimate goal. But I always want them to know that I care about them and their whole little beings,” she concludes.