School: East High School
School System: Waterloo Community School District
Subject and Grade Level: High School Spanish Teacher
Education: University of Northern Iowa
Hobbies: I love to travel. This summer we are taking a group of East High students to Spain and France! I also love spending time with friends and family.
Family members: Mike Bahnsen, Amaya Bahnsen, & Chloe Bahnsen
How long have you been teaching: 10 years
The Thing You Like Most About Teaching: The students! High school teachers see over 100 students in the classroom daily, and they all have a million things going on in their lives! This brings a lot of diversity in the classroom, which makes everyday and every class period different! There is always something going on at school and at home. The students bring this with them when they walk in my door. I love to hear about what is going on in their lives and what they are thinking about. This knowledge keeps me young and helps me make connections with them when I am teaching.
The Thing You Find Most Challenging About Teaching: There is not enough time in the day to get everything done that I would like! As a teacher, your whole day depends on one thing, the bell. This isn’t to say that other professions don’t encounter deadlines, but we are constantly reminded of ours. We have about 45 minutes to deliver a lesson and “ding”, time to reset and get ready for a whole new class where something completely different is being taught. Oh, and guess what, you’ve only got another 45 minutes to get it done!
Best Tip for New Teachers: Find someone in the building you can go to with questions and concerns. This relationship is vital. We have all been novice teachers, and most of the issues you are being confronted with we have been through as well. Don’t hesitate to talk to someone about anything. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you a person.
Best Tip for Career Teachers: Maintain the positive relationships you have in the building. These individuals are your support system and you are theirs.
Favorite Piece of Advice for Students: Relationships are important, and not only your friendships inside and outside of school, but also your relationship with the adults in the school building. We are here for you. Find an adult in the building you can confide in and visit them regularly.
What Being a Gold Star Teacher Means to You: A Gold Star Teacher to me is a person that lives and breathes what they do. This is a person that is excited to go to work everyday, and has fun in the classroom. A Gold Star Teacher creates safe classroom environments where students feel free to express their thoughts and opinions. S/he is also fair, sets high expectations, and makes connections with students. A Gold Star Teacher has enthusiasm for his/her content area and is excited when students experience “ah-ha moments”.