Madison's first year as a teacher

The 2019-2020 school year has thrown some unusual learning curves at teachers across the world. In light of the situation, May 4 – 8 is National Teacher Appreciation Week.

Madison Beeck is a third-grade teacher at Shenandoah Elementary School. Breek joined the Shenandoah district straight out of college.

Beeck attended Denison High School and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in May 2019 with her teaching degree. She student taught in Carroll and later in Kansas City.

“I’ve always liked Shenandoah,” said Beeck. “While playing sports in high school, I always liked the size of the town and it always felt like a nice community when I was here. When I heard there was an opening for a teacher, I was excited to apply.”

Beeck said she has known since she was fairly young she wanted to be a teacher. She said there weren’t many challenges during college except for when she moved out of state to try something different during student teaching.

“Teaching has always been my dream,” said Beeck. “I really love teaching third-grade because I feel like they’re starting to become independent and yet they are at that fun age. They have a lot of growth throughout the year that I love to see.”

Beeck said she was welcomed into the Shenandoah district instantly by staff.

“Going through the year with my class, we’ve done a lot of fun activities and projects and learned a lot,” said Beeck. “It’s been a great year overall. My class has been helpful and they’re up for trying new things which helps me out being a first-year teacher to see what works the best.”

Beeck said the first year has been about figuring out the small things and details you don’t learn in college.

“In the classroom, I learned not to be afraid to try new things,” said Beeck. “One thing might work for one kid but be completely opposite for the student next to him.”

Beeck said the whole school works together as a team. She said each staff member plays a role in a child’s life, not just their teacher.

“Being a teacher means the world to me,” said Beeck. “and knowing that my students depend on me and that I can be there to help them in any way possible. It’s hard to explain, but seeing their faces light up throughout the day is an amazing feeling.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic closing schools across Iowa, Beeck said the biggest challenge for her has been getting assignments and communication set up online.

“Having Chromebooks made it nice because we had already been using a lot of technology throughout the year,” said Beeck. “So, that made it helpful with the transition to complete online instruction.”

Beeck said she communicates by phone or video chat with her students weekly.

“It breaks my heart that I am not able to see my kids in person,” said Beeck. “It’s a little more difficult not being able to interact in person, but they’ve done great with the transition.”

Beeck said in the fall, when classes resume, teachers will have to assess each student’s individual needs due to the school closure.

“I feel like this will make everybody stronger and people will be able to appreciate things differently,” said Beeck. “Although it may be scary now, next year, we’ll get back to it and it will be a great year.”

Beeck lives in Shenandoah but is close enough to make the short drive to Denison to visit her parents. She also has two siblings. One brother helps with the family farm and a sister attends Iowa State.

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