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Getting to know our teachers

Jeanette Van Zomeren — Fort Dodge Middle School

-Submitted photo
Jeanette Van Zomeren, an English language arts teacher at Fort Dodge Middle School, reads aloud to an eighth-grade class.

Jeanette Van Zomeren

Where do you teach?

Fort Dodge Middle School

What grade/subject do you teach?

Eighth-grade English language arts (ELA)

Why do you teach?

I teach because I have always loved working with kids. It makes every day exciting and no day is ever the same. I also teach so I can give back to others. I always wanted to pursue a career where I helped others and the community. Philanthropy is very important to me. I also love reading and writing, and so much of that can tie into life lessons such as empathy, taking a stand and treating others the way you want to be treated. I can’t imagine doing anything else as a career.

What is your favorite part of the school day?

My favorite part of the school day is when I walk into my pod in the morning or when students start coming upstairs. The anticipation of what the day might bring is what keeps teachers going on a day-to-day basis.

What are you working hardest on right now?

Right now, I am working on putting our ELA curriculum online so that students can work on the materials at home. The entire ELA department at Fort Dodge Middle School has been brainstorming and working together for a few weeks on these materials so that students don’t miss a single day of work. I am so grateful for all the help from the FDMS ELA teachers and curriculum coaches.

What are you most proud of as a teacher?

I am most proud that I made it to my second year! Throughout my college career and even as a young high schooler, I was told I would get sick of teaching very quickly. However, no matter how hectic and crazy this year has been, I am so grateful to be here with my eighth-graders.

What makes you happiest as a teacher?

I love getting to talk to my students every day and I truly love just connecting with them. I also really enjoy when my students and I can have fun with the content that we are learning in class. I like coming up with new creative ways to keep students engaged when it comes to reading and writing.

How do you contribute to/how are you involved in our community outside of school?

I enjoy going to high school/middle school sports during the school year. Last year I went to boys and girls basketball games, wrestling and some high school football games. I hope to attend even more games this year. Go Dodgers!

What are your interests/hobbies outside of school?

I really love to read (and I’m not just saying that because I am a language arts teacher)! I also enjoy catching up with my family and friends whenever I can.

What do you wish your students/families knew about you? I give 110% to my job. I put my whole heart into what I do. I care about each and every one of my students, their needs and their family’s needs. I am always here to help or to lend an ear.

What does Together We Rise mean to you?

Together We Rise to me means community. It takes a community to teach, to help others, and to live our best lives. It also means having pride in wherever you come from and wherever you may go.

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