Savana Stangeland

Savana Stangeland obtains elementary education field experience as a freshman

Growing up spending time after school in her mom’s classroom, Savana knew of her passion to be a teacher from an early age. Watching her older brother, who has autism, receive a mix of great to not-so-great teachers in his life, Savana knew she wanted to be that great teacher for other students.

“As I grew older, I saw the difference [my mom] made in the lives of her students and how she truly helped other people through her career choice,” Savana said. “I want to be the same difference-maker and quality teacher for my own students.”

Thanks to her mission to provide an impactful learning environment for future students, Savana chose to come to Iowa State University.

“At Iowa State, I knew I was going to get field experience in area schools as early as my freshman year,” she said. “This experience was something I really valued and saw to be important.”

Savana immediately started hands-on learning opportunities through a required class all elementary education students take: CI 280, Pre-Student Teaching Experience. She worked with a fifth-grade class, helping them with daily math, reading, and other tasks the teacher gave her.

Another requirement as a freshman is being in the elementary education learning community, Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers, which provides students with hands-on opportunities right away.

“While I already knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was little, having the hands-on experience validates for a lot of students whether or not teaching is for them,” she said. “I think that makes it really important we get these experiences so soon in our college career.”

During her sophomore year, Savana decided to be a peer mentor for the freshman learning community.

“Being a peer mentor is really relatable to teaching,” she said. “I had a group of 11 students; I got to help them get connected to ISU, get experience, and find other ways to get involved to enhance their future careers.”

Through all of her experiences so far, and the ones she will still receive in the future, Savana finds reassurance she is in the right career path.

“I believe each and every student deserves an amazing teacher every year of their education, and I want to be able to provide that inclusive, empowering, and warm classroom to each student that walks through the door,” she said.

Savana knows the importance of students having someone who is well prepared and dedicated to motivate them. To fill this roll, Savana pushes the importance of being involved in every way possible while at ISU.

“Everyone says it, but honestly, just get involved,” she said. “Gaining that experience, getting out there and getting involved makes connections, friendships, and continuously builds upon your knowledge and previous opportunities.”