Kristin Vogel teaches sixth grade language arts at Merrill Middle School. Her time actually began long ago when she attended as a student. Back then, she dreamed of becoming a lawyer or the first woman to play in the NFL, yet deep down she knew her true path was to teach.
“This is my ninth year teaching; I spent five years teaching Spanish in Cedar Rapids and the past four years in the Des Moines District,” she says. “The people I work with are fantastic. Their dedication is truly inspiring. I have to bring my A-game every day just to keep up.”
Middle School feels like the perfect fit for her as far as school age goes.
“I originally thought that I wanted to teach kindergarten, but after student teaching I realized how much nose wiping and shoe tying there was to be done,” she explains with a laugh. “My first job was at a middle school, and I haven’t looked back since. I love my students’ sense of humor and their insight.”
Growing up, Vogel loved reading as well as learning Spanish. Being able to teach her favorite subjects has been a very rewarding experience for her.
“What I love about reading is how it lets you escape the real world and peek into other’s lives,” she says. “I enjoy the art of writing as well because it’s such a great way to express feelings and ideas. As of now my favorite unit was reading ‘Seedfolks’ by Paul Fleischman. We had so many great discussions and I think my students really enjoyed the book.”
Vogel hopes that each of her students leaves her classroom with a love of reading and language and a better understanding of how to put it all down on paper.
“I want to see all my kids gain empathy, see the good in others and be able to find their own passion in life,” she says.
To prepare for her class, Vogel recommends that students read, read, read.
“Find a genre of books that you love, but also challenge yourself to read a new type of book,” she says.
“Pay attention to what makes the writing good, so you can start to use those techniques in your own writing. Don’t be afraid to take chances because that is how we grow.”