Andrew Koshatka grabs the attention of all 20 students in his third grade classroom.
“Drip drop, time to stop,” he says, and without another word the room is quiet. With smiles on their faces and hands in the air, the students’ eagerness to learn was palpable as “Mr. K” guided them through class instruction for another fun-filled day at Perry Elementary.
“The best part of teaching third grade has been getting to know the students,” Koshatka says. “Each student in the classroom is so unique and different from anyone else. Getting to know their differences and finding creative ways to reach each student has been a very welcome challenge and something that brings me a lot of joy.”
Koshatka graduated from Iowa State University in 2012 with a major in elementary education specializing in mathematics and social studies. He also pursued a minor in educational technology.
“It was a lot of school,” he sighed in good humor. As a graduation gift he was given the book “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss and later traveled as a substitute teacher to multiple districts including Nevada, Ames, Boone, Ballard and Des Moines. The book inspired his drive to help his students discover the places they could go. Koshatka is now savoring his first year with Perry Elementary School.
Koshatka’s class is currently exploring new concepts in math including the often daunting multiplication tables.
“What we are trying to do is really not focus on just memorizing the multiplication facts but understanding how multiplication works and becoming comfortable with using a variety of different methods to solve any given problem,” he says. “If they are given a problem, they can think about it in a way that works for them.”
Outside of school Koshatka and his wife, Elizabeth, recently a welcomed a baby girl to the world. Between work and home Koshatka is learning the ropes of the great balancing act that is life. His enthusiasm for teaching and learning is contagious as he highlights each student’s’ unique potential to make the most of the journey they are on and all the places they could go.