116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — Thirteen Linn-Mar High School students signed a letter of intent to pursue a career in education last month, guaranteeing them a future interview if they apply for a job in the district after they complete their education.
Sarah Hansen, who graduated from Linn-Mar this year, said she felt “welcomed into the world of education.”
Hansen wants to go into education because she loves working with children and building relationships with them.
As a senior at Linn-Mar, Hansen was able to observe a sixth-grade classroom and work with preschool students.
“Someday, I may want to interview at Linn-Mar because the teachers really do care about their students,” Hansen said. “It’s definitely an environment I would love to teach in.”
For a class she took in high school, Hansen said she interviewed one of her teachers, Alexander Neff, about working in education.
What he said really struck her, she said.
“Our main role is to provide a human connection, to create a space where all students feel validated and loved,” Hansen said, quoting Neff.
The letter of intent states that the student is committed to become a successful future educator.
It is not a legally-binding agreement, but it is a way to express a commitment to teaching, said Laura Vaske, education pathway instructor and Family and Consumer Science teacher at Linn-Mar High School.
“I thought it was really inspiring that despite the challenges we face right now these students are still wanting and ready to start that process to become a teacher,” Vaske said.
“There’s people here who support them, who know they can do great things, and we want them back in our district and be great teachers someday,” Vaske said.
Many of the students who signed a letter of intent have already completed the education pathway at Linn-Mar High School.
Students who completed the education pathway, which includes dual credit classes through Kirkwood Community College, are eligible to apply for a paraeducator certification.
The pathway is three education classes: Child Growth and Development, Exploring Teaching, and Behavior Management.
“The pathway is kind of new, and I wanted to think about how I could have something exciting at the end of the program,” Vaske said.
Vaske said the students she taught were curious about education and “asked really important questions I can’t imagine I would have thought about at their age.”
Vaske said she wanted to recognize these students for the decision they’ve made to pursue education, even in the midst of a pandemic.
“This past year, teaching has been hard,” she said. “I think it’s amazing these students feel like they know already what career they want to pursue.”
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