Masked Hero: Suzy Nordhus
Superpower: Shapeshifting teaching style
For much of the school year, Suzy Nordhus has taught preschool students both in the classroom and remotely. She knows the challenges of engaging up to 20 preschool students at a time through the computer. “I am quite the three-ring circus, sideshow act when I teach. I do nothing short of tap dance on the tables to keep students (or maybe just myself) engaged during remote learning. But I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these little people.” This is why they love her!
Nordhus is in her third year teaching in Ames and has always been drawn to the District since student teaching here several years ago. “I felt an instant connection to the mission, passion, and commitment to students and families that the district exemplified. I waited many years for the right position and timing for my family, but I knew that Ames was the right district for me.”
Learning is not a passive, independent process according to Nordhus. She believes the best learning happens when students have an opportunity to both teach and to be taught. When students are the listener and the speaker. “We are cheerleaders for others in our classroom and believe that when one of us succeeds, we all succeed.” Not being able to finish out the last school year was hard, but Nordhus truly believes that “every challenge in life brings with it, a chance to improve.”
She has always placed emphasis on building a classroom community and prioritizing mental health and connections. Teaching through this pandemic has only reinforced that. “Feeling connected to not only the learning but the classroom community, builds so much pride in students.” Oftentimes, Nordhus engages her shapeshifting superpower to reach them. “Students’ academic, physical, emotional, and mental needs are constantly changing, so my teaching style is ever-changing.”