Hannah Baysinger’s journey to teaching brought her across different continents, to different cultures, and gave her non-traditional classroom experiences.
Eventually her journey landed her at the University of Iowa College of Education, where she earned her Master of Arts in Teaching in teaching and learning with a world language education subprogram, and endorsements in K-12 Spanish and K-12 English as a Second Language.
Baysinger, from Marion, Iowa, will serve as the student speaker for the fall 2022 graduate commencement ceremony on Friday, Dec. 16.
Her first time working in a school was in a small community in Kamuli, Uganda, where she supported a youth agriculture entrepreneurship program and an elementary science curriculum.
“The teachers I worked with were inspiring, and I knew I wanted to keep working in education,” says Baysinger.
After completing her undergraduate degree at Iowa State University, Baysinger served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay where she worked with schools and community on environmental conservation projects.
“It was so much fun to create and implement this type of curriculum and see my students and co-teachers having a blast with our projects.,” says Basinger.
However, Baysinger was evacuated from Paraguay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She returned to her hometown and began working with a local school district in its alternative high school and special education programs.
Baysinger says her experiences in schools throughout her undergraduate, graduate, and professional career helped cement her desire to work in education.
“I have had various opportunities to work in schools with teachers and students around the world. Throughout these different experiences with schools, I decided I wanted to become a teacher and have my own classroom,” says Baysinger. “I always loved getting to see the teachers and students work together as they progress in their individual goals.”
Baysinger chose the University of Iowa College of Education because of the program’s reputation.
“I chose the University of Iowa because it seemed like their Teacher Education Preparation (TEP) program had the best reputation. I was excited to be a Hawkeye, and when I toured the campus with a friend I fell in love with it,” says Baysinger.
Another part of her graduate experience at the College of Education was her role as an academic associate with the UI REACH (Realizing Education and Career Hopes) program. In her role, she was able to support UI REACH students in developing both academic and social skills including time management, routine building, and navigating independent living.
Baysinger was also named the Obermann Spellman Rockefeller Community Scholar, where she worked with Open Heartland to serve the Latinx immigrant population in Jones County with English language tutoring and youth enrichment programs.
“I loved working with my students and their families to develop strong relationships and made great memories,” says Baysinger.
Baysinger says a big takeaway from her graduate program is learning how to create a student-centered learning environment.
“To me, this means how I can make my classroom into a safe place where students feel empowered and supported to reach their goals. This is a big takeaway for me because it will allow my students to feel like they have their own autonomy in my class,” says Baysinger.
After graduation, Baysinger will work as a high school Spanish teacher at Marion High School, and she is excited to support their growing English as a second language program.