As a teacher, Susan Hope has held multiple positions at a variety of grade levels as many teachers do throughout their careers. However, she has remained in the Waukee school district through all of her 28 years of teaching. Hope received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Iowa State University with a reading endorsement and Technology Minor and later received her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Viterbo University. But she as she first headed off to college, teaching wasn’t the only option on her list.
"Some of the other professions I considered were fashion merchandising and computer programming," Hope recalls.
Teaching, however, won out in the end; and it seems it’s what she was always meant to do.
"I grew up in a family of educators and have always gravitated toward this field of working with and learning with others," Hope shares on her decision to become a teacher. "I tended to gravitate toward experiences of related areas, such as lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons and volunteering to work in classrooms, while still a high school student."
Although she currently teaches as an Instructional Coach at Waukee Middle School, she’s experienced a variety of grade levels in her years with Waukee.
"I started in Waukee as an elementary teacher - always thinking my dream job was to be a third grade teacher. But when I came to teach middle school, I discovered I loved this age group as well."
And it’s where she has remained ever since, even to this day, though her current position as an Instructional Coach is far from a "regular" teaching position.
"My favorite part of my current job as instructional coach is the variety. I love getting to work with all students, all teachers, all grade levels, and all contents at Waukee Middle School," Hope reveals.
She also enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers at various grade levels and schools.
"A big reward in my current position is getting to see great instruction spread throughout a building and often, even the district. As we all learn information and share with each other, we become better at what we do."
As her career has grown, Hope has grown along with it; and the standards of teaching have grown as well.
"I am currently very fascinated with the changes in education," Hope divulges. "While learning is still learning, the world is a very different place now. Education shouldn’t look like it did 30 years ago because the world isn’t the same as it was 30 years ago. "There are new skill sets that are very important ‘life skills’ now such as adaptability, creativity, and curiosity. These things lead to innovation."
As well as herself and the education system, Hope has seen students change and grow up. Visits from those adult students are one of her favorite parts about teaching in the same place for so long. "I love to see former students and have conversations with them and hear where they are currently and what they are doing. I want students to know how much they mean to their teachers."
She encourages her former students to visit and promises that she remembers each and every one of them.
"Of course I remember them! I sometimes forget their first name until they tell me, but I often can recall a fun memory of having them in class."
Hope resides in Waukee with her husband of 28 years, Michael. They have two children, both Waukee graduates. Their oldest, Anna, is an Iowa State graduate and will attend the Des Moines University Physical Therapy program. Their son, Jonathan, is a junior at Iowa State University majoring in Software Engineering.