Jen Garcia was a teacher for eight years before taking a hiatus to raise her family, so when she felt the urge to teach again she knew that the time was right.
After having spent the last two years working at Rolling Green Elementary School in Urbandale, Garcia says she is grateful for the opportunity to stay within the district and teach fifth grade students at Valerius Elementary School, noting that early in the school year she feels comfortable and happy in her new setting.
“Valerius has great families and staff, and I feel at home already,” she says. “It’s a positive environment, and the classes are the perfect size.”
Garcia says the goal for her 24 students is to grow academically and socially and to become more organized to prepare them for middle school. To help achieve that, Garcia will lead them in small and large group lessons in math and literacy. She is particularly optimistic about the implementation of the district wide “Words Their Way” literacy program which helps improve phonics, spelling and definitions of words, as well as reading comprehension.
“I also like how it allows students to grow at their own pace. It’s a more individualized program,” says Garcia.
In mid-September, Garcia’s class will take a field trip to Jester Park to gain firsthand knowledge of their studies of ponds and other natural science subjects. Students will also get to observe buffaloes and paddle a canoe.
“The kids are very excited about the field trip,” Garcia says.
The new fifth grade teacher at Valerius says she likes teaching fifth grade students because they are independent learners, and she enjoys listening to their stories and jokes.
“They have more of an evolved sense of humor, which makes class fun,” she says.