The more you get to know teachers, the more you realize the good ones are destined to teach certain age groups.
Ann McTaggart, now in her eighth year of teaching third grade students at Jordan Creek Elementary School in West Des Moines, is one of the good ones.
McTaggart does more than merely lead 26 students through lessons in math, reading, writing, science and social studies. She understands them and by doing so inspires them to take the steps necessary to start to become independent learners. That’s key in an important transition year like third grade.
“I always knew that I wanted to be around kids who enjoyed school. That’s why I love teaching third graders. They love being here, but they’re becoming much more independent, which is nice to see,” says McTaggart. “They do a lot of growing up in third grade.”
Like any teacher, McTaggart especially enjoys the “ah-hah” moments when a lesson clicks with a child.
“There’s nothing better than that, especially for a kid who has worked hard and then gets it. It’s very rewarding,” she says.
Equally rewarding, says McTaggart, is working in a friendly environment like Jordan Creek where staff and parents work together closely to educate students.
“It really is a great family at Jordan Creek,” says McTaggart. “The staff is so caring and supportive, not only of the students, but of each other. We share the same common goal of helping students, whether they’re in our class or not.
“The other rewarding part of my job is getting to know the families of students and working with them, because there is a strong connection between school and home. It makes my job easier and is better for the students.”