Mrs. Ruth Christensen comes by her dedication to education naturally. As the daughter of a college instructor, Christensen says she always knew that she, too, wanted to make a difference in the lives of students.
“My mother taught in the business department at NIACC for 30 years,” explains Christensen. “I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher.”
A Plymouth native, Christensen attended NIACC for two years and earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa in 2001.
But while her mother taught at the college level, Christensen has spent her career with some of the youngest learners. She has spent her entire career in Clear Lake and has taught several elementary grade levels, sometimes following her students on to the next grade.
In all, Christensen has taught one year in third grade, two years in fifth grade, five years in second grade, and the majority in fourth grade, her current level.
“The fourth graders are always excited to learn and try new things,” she notes. “They’re willing to take risks and go out and explore, and they also bring their background and knowledge into the classroom more.”
At this level, Christensen says students are constantly making more real world connections, and bringing what they observe outside the classroom, back to school to enrich the learning process and experience.
Christensen serves as the Reading teacher for all fourth grade students, teaching four sections of Reading each day. She particularly enjoys the fact that the fourth graders serve as Reading Buddies to first graders, and notes that both grade levels benefit from the teamwork.
After all, there’s nothing like becoming the teacher to help one master the subject!
“It’s a good fit for our kids, particularly if they happen to be struggling themselves because it allows them to step out of the role of struggling, and step in to a real leadership role with the first graders,” she explains. “It helps them to build confidence and then they realize how far they have come themselves.”
Seeing the fourth grades become more responsible for their own learning is also fun.
“I want them to become independent learners,” she says. “I want them to have fun, to help each other, and become good citizens, as well as good students.”
What do you like best about Mrs. christensen?
She teaches in a fun way.
She makes up fun assignments.