For Jasna Delilovic, the road to her seventh grade classroom at Parkview Middle School has been a long one.
A native of Bosnia, Delilovic came to the United States as a refugee with her husband and young daughter when war broke out in their country. Her background in tourism helped her land a job with the Des Moines Public School System as a native language interpreter, tutoring children from Bosnia.
“That was the first time I was really exposed to working with kids. I had worked in tourism in my country. I loved working with people, but never in my life did I think I would be working with kids, and liking it” she says.
Delilovic spent 13 years with the Des Moines district before making the choice to become a teacher. She returned to school herself and graduated from Grand View. Then soon found her place at Parkview, where she has been for the past six years.
With her work as a native language interpreter, Delilovic had the opportunity to work with students of all ages. She knew from the start that middle school would be where she wanted to be.
“I just mesh with that level. There is something about kids this age — seventh and eighth grade — that I just work so well with,” she explains.
It’s quickly apparent in her classroom that Delilovic is a highly energetic and enthusiastic teacher. She says one her greatest strengths as a teacher is that she is a very dynamic person.
“I’m very much alive, that’s my nature,” she says. “One thing I can guarantee is no student will ever fall asleep in my class. I am all over the place. They never know what to expect from me. I dance. I sing. I have music in class. Whatever works to shake them up and keep them engaged.”
Delilovic looks forward to the years she has students who really challenge her and their classmates. It doesn’t happen very often.
“Those school years when I have at least one kid like that, is the school year from heaven for me,” she says. “They make me grow as a teacher, and they help push the other students. I don’t feel that I can push them as much as they can push each other. Those students are a gift. All my students can teach me so much more than I can ever teach them” she says.