Happy Teachers Appreciation Week! - Jenny Rants
Editor’s note: It is National Teacher Appreciation Week. As part of the celebration, we profiled teachers throughout the state. Here’s one:
Jenny Rants, Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District
- Grade level taught: Special Education K-5
- Subjects taught: Special Education
- School: South Prairie Elementary
- How many years have you been teaching: 27 years (4 years in Perry, rest at DCG)
Why are you passionate about teaching?
I am passionate about teaching because I love to learn and I want my students to love to learn. This goes beyond learning how to read and write. Learning in my classroom also includes turn taking, using manners, being patient and perhaps, most of all, being kind. I so enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to make school successful for all of my students regardless of their needs. This can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding parts of being a teacher.
What have you learned during the past year teaching during the pandemic?
What a year this has been! I am not sure I have ever appreciated my job more than when it was taken away from me in March of 2020. I learned that teachers and students are resilient and can handle any challenge that is thrown our way. I have always known that we can do hard things, and this year we have proven this again.
What do you think are keys to a student’s success and how do you help foster that?
Without a doubt, the key to a student’s success is relationships. We work tirelessly to make our students feel safe and loved while they are at school. This begins from day one and is reinforced every day until the last day of school. Relationship building includes listening, watching and engaging. Knowing your students and their families is one of the best investments a teacher can make throughout the school year.
Over the years, how have you grown as an educator?
When I think back to my first years of teaching, I often shake my head. I made mistakes, second guessed my decisions, and spent countless hours reflecting on my day. However, all of these experiences have made me the teacher I am today. A very wise person once told me that “mistakes are expected and respected” and I hold onto this every day. You have to be a learner right with your students. I am more confident now, but nowhere near knowing it all and this is what makes my days so exciting.
What opportunities do you see in the next few years in education?
Our opportunities are endless and should be the same as they are every other year. Teachers will continue to work harder than ever, inspire children, and instill our students with everything they need to become the best humans they can be. Our work is never done and we are always up to the challenge.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
I am not sure I have ever had a favorite teacher. I saw most of my teachers as amazingly smart, talented, and loving adults. I certainly never appreciated all of the work that they had to do day in and day out, but most of these adults helped shaped me into the person I am today.