Janelle Cross

Janelle Cross uses compassion for others to strengthen future teaching career

Starting off her freshman year at Iowa State University, Janelle was an apparel, merchandising, and design major. She soon realized this path wasn’t for her, and without taking a second thought, she switched to elementary education.

Before coming to Iowa State, Janelle was the nanny of two elementary-aged kids, which was what sparked her interest in education.

“The little girl and I worked on reading all summer because she was falling behind,” Janelle said. “Seeing her learn and grow in reading was so rewarding and it motivated me to pursue a degree in education.”

Not knowing how to teach someone to read, Janelle made up her strategy as she went and was proud to see her style of teaching work. Now, from her various classes, Janelle learns many ways to teach children of all learning abilities.

“Teachers have such an important role,” she said. “Some teachers see the kids more than the parents do. Teachers have the opportunity to shape these kids by spending so much time with them.”

The compassion Janelle hopes to show her students some day she sees in Marissa Vermeer, a School of Education lecturer.

“She actually cares to get to know us,” Janelle said. “She tells us before we doing anything school-related to make sure to get to know our students.”

Janelle said being compassionate is super important, especially with little kids. They don’t want to do things unless they feel loved and can trust their teachers.

“Everyone has the capability to be compassionate and caring,” she said. “It’s a choice rather than a personality trait. You have to choose it even when it’s hard.”