For Justin Dopheide, lifelong learning has always been an important part of life. Whether it is pursuing higher education or simply reading every day, Dopheide believes that education is important not only for students but adults as well, a philosophy he incorporates in both his classroom and everyday life.
A graduate from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in social science education, Dopheide currently teaches U.S. History at Southeast Polk Junior High. Before his current position, Dopheide taught sixth through eighth grade social studies at Saint Theresa’s school in Des Moines and seventh grade geography at Southeast Polk. In addition to teaching, Dopheide also serves as student council advisor for both the seventh and eighth grade. It was his love of studying history as a child and his favorite history teacher that inspired him to become the teacher he is today.
When asked what he likes best about teaching this specific age group, Dopheide stated, “I like the challenge. No day is the same with this age group. They are mature enough to complete independent tasks, but still at the age where they enjoy school.”
It is this challenge that came with teaching a large, diverse student body that ultimately attracted Dopheide to the Southeast Polk School District.
One of the ways Dopheide inspires such a diverse group is by utilizing as much technology as possible in the classroom. The use of technology not only helps the children learn but also motivates them to learn. For Dopheide, seeing a child accomplish a lesson from start to finish is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher.
In his free time, Dopheide loves spending time with his wife and 9-month-old son. He enjoys spending time outdoors during the summer, especially when he gets the opportunity to play a round of golf. Dopheide is currently working on pursuing his master’s in social sciences. He loves being in the classroom and plans to continue to work directly with the children even after graduation.
“If I can develop a good relationship with my students, and if my students like my class, I can teach them anything,” he says.