Winner of the 2014 Crystal Apple Award, Jody Hurd currently teaches sixth-grade math and science at Spring Creek School.
This particular award is granted to Southeast Polk School teachers by the Southeast Polk Education Association (SEPEA) for their work throughout the district. Along with teaching math and science, Hurd also facilitates Spring Creek Bridges, an after-school girls program supported and funded through the Chrysalis Foundation. This program focuses on establishing resiliency, team building and financial literacy for young girls. It also builds self-esteem and self-awareness through activities such as cooking, games and community service.
Originally from Ames, Hurd moved to Bettendorf at the end of her fifth-grade year. After graduating from Bettendorf High School, she attended Iowa State University where she received a degree in elementary education with a middle school endorsement.
When asked what she loves most about teaching this particular age group, Hurd says “I love sixth grade because they are still eager to learn. They are independent enough to do things on their own, but still enjoy learning. They are so creative. You can do fun but challenging activities in class.”
After college, Hurd taught at Dows Cal Middle School in Dows before accepting her current teaching position at Southeast Polk. She has taught a combination of sixth and seventh grade math, science and social studies throughout the past nine years.
“Math is more of a challenge to teach and to make fun because of the students’ prior attitudes towards the subject,” Hurd says of the differences between teaching math and science. “Kids are already interested in science. They love to explore, and they love to experiment.”
Hurd sited her fifth grade teacher, who really cared about her students and made them feel like they could accomplish anything, as one of her inspirations for teaching.
“It made me, too, want to make a difference in other people’s lives,” Hurd says. “I am so blessed to have a job that I love. My job may be to teach, but I also learn a lot from my students every day.”