Sarah Berman, first grade teacher at Olmsted Elementary, has always loved being around children. However, when she first attended Drake University, she did not start out as an education major. “I had many career interests when I started college, and I never thought about pursuing education until my sophomore year of college,” she says. “I started as a Law, Politics, and Society [program]/broadcast journalism major with intentions of attending law school.”
According to Berman, in spite of an interest in politics, she found she did not feel the passion that she wanted in a future professional endeavor. “When I switched to elementary education, I found my passion. I walked into the first classroom for a practicum and fell in love with everything about teaching.” She ultimately graduated magna cum laude with a degree in elementary education and concentrations in reading and English as a Second Language.
Making the switch in college has led to a fulfilling vocation. “Teaching is a profession that I love, and it makes me happy every day,” she says. Watching students grow and develop has been rewarding to Berman. “I am so proud of my first graders!” she says. “My students work so hard every single day. I believe our greatest accomplishment is working together to help one another reach our goals.”
For example, the students support one another in developing their writing skills. “My room is filled with talented mini-authors,” Berman says. “They love to help one another by giving stars and wishes – a star to celebrate the author’s work and a wish to help that author become even more successful the next time they write.”
Berman describes her students as caring. “They are truly a caring community of learners, and they embrace each other’s differences and achievements.” She also celebrates their curiosity. “I love providing answers to my students’ amazing, curious questions. Every single day is different, and watching my students’ passion and curiosity grow…forever bring me joy.”
When she is not in the classroom, Berman is cooking or traveling. “Contrary to some of my students’ beliefs, I do not live at school!” she laughs. Travel highlights include trips to Europe, Africa, and Central America. “This past summer, I volunteered for five weeks at an orphanage in Costa Rica taking care of little ones, ages six months to four years, and tutoring older elementary-aged children.”
Quotes from students – what they like about Ms. Berman’s class: