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Jake Zauhar

Major: Elementary Education
Year of Graduation: 2001
Current Job: Teacher at Cold Spring Elementary in the Rocori School District.

How did you decide on an ELED major?
I have a lot of relatives that are teachers and so listening to them tell their stories sparked my interest in education.  I really liked working with kids.  I had a lot of experience working with kids through sports and as a tutor.  It was fun for me to help them learn new things. 

What makes you look forward to coming to work each day?
There is never a day that is the same as another.  The kids have an energy that rubs off on me and I enjoy getting to know them.  My students have been open and honest which helps to bring more fun into the classroom.  If you take a genuine interest in them, they will take an interest in you in return.

What's your most significant challenge?
Working with students that have different intelligence levels in the same class [is difficult].  Some students are more advanced than others and when you put them in the same class with lower level students, teaching in ways that challenges all of them can be difficult.  Another challenge is balancing teaching, coaching, and family life. It's not easy.

What personal qualities are most important in your field?
To be caring, empathetic, honest with others, cooperative, intrigued by challenges, determined, creative, and always wanting to learn more.

What would you say to someone hoping to be an elementary education major or teacher now?
Work hard and build connections (network). Try to get an understanding of the side of teaching that isn't just the lesson planning. Try to experience as much as you can, so you know what grades of students you are most compatible with. Also, practice teaching as many different subjects as possible, because you never know when your teaching assignment can be changed. All of the work is worth it as you will be some of the most prepared teachers in the market