Editor’s note: As part of our celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, we are highlighting a few outstanding educators from classrooms across the state. We thank all teachers for their dedicated work with Iowa’s students this past year.

Today’s Q&A session spotlight features Sioux City Community School District teacher Jenna Bork. Bork has taught for five years and currently teaches seventh grade science at North Middle School.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Karen Fry, who taught me in fifth grade. She was my favorite teacher because of her passion for teaching and the relationships she built with her students. Mrs. Fry stood out as a leader in the building because of the respect she had for her students and colleagues.

Why are you passionate about teaching? What things do you love about working with students?

I am passionate about teaching because I want to have an impact on every student I teach. I hope to build relationships with all students to help excite them about wanting to come to school. My goal is for students to reach his/her full potential while learning and having fun in my classroom. One thing I love about teaching is that every day something new happens. Students bring so many surprises to the classroom which always provide many new learning opportunities.

What do you think are the keys to a student’s success and how do you help foster that?

Developing a student's perception where they see themselves as competent and capable learners is an important way of leading students towards academic success. As an educator, I can foster engagement within my content by developing lessons where the success criteria are clear, and students understand the direction their learning is leading them. Collaboration with my fellow content teachers allows for multiple perspectives and ensures that we clearly state learning intentions for our students as well as relevance.

Over the years, how have you grown as an educator? What opportunities do you see in the next few years in education?

I have had the opportunity to grow as an educator in several capacities. First, as a middle school teacher, I am allotted the time to hone my expertise in that I can focus on developing my subject area. Furthermore, my district has provided opportunities to expand my knowledge via trainings including the National Science Convention and Professional Communities at Work. While serving different roles within my building, including Team Leader and Tier 2 Interventions, I continue to share in our building's approach to shared leadership as we work towards achieving our building goals. Future educators will hopefully have many opportunities to grow their learning through various classes, conferences or training provided by their district.

What advice would you give to a new teacher starting out in the field?

My advice to a new teacher is you do not need to be an expert on day one. In fact, part of being an educator is that you are constantly seeking knowledge yourself. It is also important to find a school with a great culture and community where you feel you can be successful. I enjoy going to work every day because I work with an amazing team of educators, and we support one another with the help of our administration.

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