Shelley Schlatter

School: Southdale Elementary School

Subject and Grade Level: Kindergarten

Education: University of Northern Iowa

Hobbies: Reading, exercising, being outdoors, music, watching basketball, shopping, coffee with family & friends

Family members: Husband, Mark, daughter – Katie (12), stepsons Austin (22), and Casey (16)

How long have you been teaching: 19 years

The Thing You Like Most About Teaching: The smiles, the excitement, the happiness that walks through our door each and every morning! I love watching relationships form and a family being built within the walls of the classroom and throughout our school.

The Thing You Find Most Challenging About Teaching: When we are making educational decisions, the child and their best interest should always be the main focal point. Anytime that the focus shifts away from the child, that is challenging.

Best Tip for New Teachers: We have many things to do: learn curriculum, write reports, track data, reply to emails, etc. However, the most important thing that you can do each and every day is to simply be there, there in that moment when you have a child in front of you. Look them in the eyes. Two things will happen when you do; they will know they are heard and you will see into their heart. That is the place where you get to know the child. That is the place where we fall in love.

Best Tip for Career Teachers: Always remember the day that you got the call for that first teaching opportunity. Do you remember how you were so nervous and excited at the same time? Do you remember the first call that you made to tell someone that you got the job? It is that feeling that we can draw upon each day. Reach out to our new teachers. Welcome them. Build relationships with them – they have so much to teach us!

Favorite Piece of Advice for Students: Work hard, try your best and be your best. But most of all, be kind.

What Being a Gold Star Teacher Means to You: I am in great company! But to be honest, I know that I have worked with amazing people along the way, some real GOLD STAR TEACHERS! Many of them do what they do each and every day without any recognition at all. This award says so much about each of them. My first teachers were my parents, they taught me to have faith, be thankful, be my best, and believe in others. I learned early to see the good in those around me. I strive to be the kind of teacher that helps others see that good in themselves. As a Gold Star teacher, I want to recognize all of my “teachers”; my family, my colleagues, and all of my students, present and past! Thanks for all that you continue to teach me!