Kevin Paulsen, 44, is in his 13th year of teaching and is particularly enjoying teaching fifth grade social studies in the Greene County School District. The two previous years he taught fifth grade language arts and sixth grade social studies in the Jefferson-Scranton Community School District.
Numerous teaching assignment changes were made this year as the East Greene Community School District began whole-grade sharing at the intermediate, middle and high school levels with Jefferson-Scranton. The combined intermediate (fifth and sixth grades), middle school and senior high school are now part of the Greene County School District. The intermediate school where Paulsen teaches is in Grand Junction.
“I really like what I’m doing right now,” Paulsen says. “Just teaching social studies all day long is my dream job. This is what I want to do.”
In fifth grade social studies, Paulsen teaches U.S. History through the Civil War and Iowa history, which is fun to teach, he says. He also teaches about other major events, such as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“We have one kid in class who was born on the morning of the attacks,” Paulsen says. “I used to get 25 copies of The Des Moines Register each day, and I still have the newspapers from when the attacks happened. I show the class how the newspaper changed in coverage from day to day.”
Most of the students have some idea of what happened on 9-11, but most weren’t born yet, he says. He had each of the students ask their mothers, fathers and other relatives where they were on 9-11.
“They came back with some amazing stories,” he says. “Nothing else mattered that day. The country shut down.”
Learning about events like 9-11 is important because it helps people understand the world is ever-changing, Paulsen says. “It helps students understand where they are in the world.”