Wednesday, April 29, 2020

By Elianna Novitch

Happy “Where Do You Work?” Wednesday! This week meet alumna Stephanie Peters (BA ’14 Elementary Education with a middle school endorsement in math and science).

Originally from West Des Moines, Iowa, Peters works as a kindergarten teacher at Adolph Link Elementary School in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. This is her fourth year teaching in the Schaumburg School District and her sixth year of teaching overall.

Peters loves being able to make meaningful connections with her students.

“The relationships built between a kindergarten student and the teacher can be extremely impactful,” Peters says. “In a professional development session I attended, the presenter asked, ‘If you were to go to a birthday party for each child in your class, would you know the perfect gift to get them?’ That statement has stuck with me and I strive to know what each child’s perfect gift would be by building those relationships with my students and their families.”

Along with developing meaningful relationships with her students, Peters also feels grateful for the dedicated professionals she works alongside.

“I love being able to work on a successful professional learning community alongside some fantastic educators,” Peters says. “Our students are able to see the positive relationships we have built through our collaboration and lesson plans.”

Peters loves the leadership opportunities that are presented by her district and school.

“I am currently a member of our innovative task force and have been a member of the one-to-one digital learning task force, the data retreat team, have helped organize a holiday magic event for less fortunate families, and have run several after-school clubs,” Peters says.

Like many educators across the nation, Peters’ job as a teacher was affected by COVID-19 with the closure of schools and transition to online instruction. Peters says her students were able to take home one-on-one learning devices as their school moved to teaching virtually.

"Our professional learning community creates video and voice lessons through the use of Seesaw to continue to strive to provide meaningful and hands-on learning opportunities,” Peters says. “We are continuously looking for ways to connect students with each other through the use of Padlet, Zoom meetings, and video announcements. I strive to continue to provide my students with academics, social-emotional learning, and peer relationship building.”

Each week, Peters holds a Zoom meeting for the kids to see each other and to continue building peer-to-peer relationships.

“The first week we held a scavenger hunt, and last week we ate lunch with our lunch supervisor,” Peters says. “This week, we will be having a show-and-tell and the following week will be a Mother’s Day card-making activity co-hosted by my own mother.”

Peters has found creative ways through the use of technology to provide her students with opportunities to continue to interact with each other.

“Each day, one child in my class is able to record a video announcement for the others to see. They share the date, one fun activity to post to our Padlet for the day, and something from home they want to share with the class,” Peters says. “Most of my students have shared their toys, but some students have shared their pets. It is essential to continue to strive to provide students with ways to interact with each other during this time.”

Peters is currently pursuing her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with an endorsement in English language learners. She will finish her degree from Olivet Nazarene University this June.

Peters says the University of Iowa College of Education helped her strengthen her classroom management skills and gain confidence with integrating the most cutting-edge technology in her teaching.

“The University of Iowa helped to strengthen my classroom management skills by providing meaningful fieldwork opportunities throughout the program,” Peters says.

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