“For some students, I might be the only consistent stable person in their lives who loves them, listens to them and believes in them,” said Missouri State University alumna Hannah Dunville.
Dunville is a Title 1 reading interventionist at Jeffries Elementary in Springfield, Missouri. In this role, she meets with students for additional reading lessons to help them with their literacy development.
“I chose to work with low-income students and while it’s challenging, I know these are the kids who need me the most,” she said.
This is Dunville’s first year at Jeffries but her eighth year teaching in Springfield Public Schools. She taught in Columbia, Missouri, for her first three years as a teacher.
Core experiences led her to teaching
Dunville grew up in Ozark, Missouri. Her childhood experiences inspired her to become an educator.
“My parents taught at Missouri State in the physical education department. As a child, I witnessed a countless number of their former students come back and thank them for the impact they had on their lives and careers,” she said.
Dunville took parenting and child development classes in high school and found they were her favorite. She also was an A+ tutor in a first-grade classroom.
“As a tutor, I realized I loved working with little kids. Their willingness to learn and energy drew me to early childhood education,” she said.
Dunville graduated from MSU with a bachelor’s in early childhood education and a minor in child and family development in spring 2010. She received master’s and specialist degrees in literacy in fall 2011.
Meeting the needs of all students
Dunville chose to study education at MSU because it aligned with her career goals.
“I had researched the program and knew it would be well rounded and applicable, and it would allow me plenty of opportunities to put my knowledge to practice within the classroom,” she said.
At MSU, she learned how to plan lessons, personalize instruction to support all students and put teaching theories into practice.
“My education enabled me to walk into a classroom and meet the needs of diverse learners,” she said.
“When you have a classroom filled with students at all different academic levels, it can be overwhelming. But I felt confident in my abilities and skills because of the professors and classroom experiences during my time at MSU.”
Helping yourself to help others
Dunville advises education students to make self-care a priority.
“You can’t fill the students’ cup unless your cup is full,” she said. “Be open and honest, find mentors who are willing to help you during your journey and know it’s OK to not know everything.”
She recommends that when education students begin teaching, they prioritize making students feel comfortable in their classroom.
“The real first step in becoming an effective classroom teacher is building relationships with your students and creating an environment where they feel welcome, heard and have a sense of belonging.”