INDEPENDENCE – The 2020-21 school year, which is well underway, features 12 teachers who are new to the Independence Community School District (ICSD). In this issue, we’ll focus on two of them, Megan Slessor and Hayley Krogh.
Look for profiles of other new staff members at ICSD in upcoming issues of the Bulletin Journal.
Megan Slessor serves as the teacher for the district’s K-4 Extended Learning Program (ELP). A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Slessor previously taught at Waverly-Shell Rock – 2nd grade for 12 years and elementary Talented and Gifted (TAG) for two years.
When asked why she chose to become a teacher, and why she chose this particular age group and subject matter, Slessor responded, “I have always enjoyed working with kids. Through field experiences and student teaching, I gravitated towards the lower elementary grades and enjoyed my 12 years [teaching] 2nd grade. Having taught TAG/ELP for the past few years, I enjoy helping students build upon their strengths in the classroom and challenging them to take their learning to the next level.”
Challenging her students in TAG/ELP is clearly part of what she enjoys about her job.
“I strive to create a classroom community where each student plays an active role in their own learning. My goal is to challenge students to extend their learning and utilize their critical thinking skills not only in the classroom, but in life as well.”
While Slessor’s years of teaching experience benefit her when it comes to teaching in a COVID-19 world, she also elaborated on the adjustments, and the challenges, in the classroom.
“Wearing masks, physical distancing, and plexiglass partitions are obviously adjustments for both teachers and students. Being new to the district, it’s hard not to be able to see others’ faces, but we need to take the necessary precautions to stay safe.
“Another adjustment is the increased use of technology with students through the different learning platforms. Both students and teachers alike have become more comfortable with digital learning tools, and are becoming more educated digital citizens as a result.”
In her spare time, Slessor enjoys spending time with family and friends, staying active, and traveling.
She and her husband, Steve, have three children – Harper is 6, Kain is 2 1/2 , and Merrick is 1.
New at East Elementary this year is Hayley Krogh, who is teaching 2nd grade. This is her first teaching assignment. Krogh earned her degree from Wartburg College in May 2020. A Hudson native, she resides in Independence.
As someone starting a career during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, you might guess it must be a daunting task for a novice educator like Krogh. Krogh has taken it all head-on.
“Being a first-year teacher during COVID-19 has been very challenging. The teaching profession is one of the most challenging professions out there. As teachers, we deal with and juggle a lot of different things, plus to now add on top of that COVID. It has been difficult to navigate for everyone, but I feel as though both me and my students have adjusted very well.
“I give all credit to my students of how well they have adapted. They have had so many things taken from them due to COVID-19, and they handle all of the changes with such grace. They are just truly glad to be back at school, which makes all of the changes much easier for me and for them.”
Krogh is passionate about her chosen profession, and helping young students succeed academically.
“I chose the teaching profession because I participated in a program called PALS throughout high school. PALS is a program where younger elementary students who are in need of extra academic or social support are paired up with chosen high schoolers. I volunteered to be a PAL for several elementary students, and I decided through this experience that I loved helping younger kids grow and succeed in life. I chose 2nd grade because I felt it was the perfect age range that I wanted to begin my teacher career with.”
She explains her approach to education in three simple steps.
“My teaching goals are for my students to know that I care about each one of them, for them to know it is okay to fail several times until you succeed as long as you keep trying, and for each of my students to know I am there to help them in any way I can.”
Outside of her teaching responsibilities, Krogh loves being outdoors, and she is a big sports fan.
“I am a huge Green Bay Packer fan. Go, Pack, go!” she said.
Krogh’s parents still live in Hudson. Her father retired as a captain from the Waterloo Police Department, her mother works at MercyOne Medical Center in Waterloo. Her older brother is an athletic trainer for women’s soccer and men’s basketball at the University of Dubuque.
“I also have one dog named Max, who is 14 years old, but he still has the energy of a puppy. He is a Cavachon and lives in Hudson with my parents,” Krogh said.