Sarah Hiatt & Amanda Reinhardt - Sagewood Elem.
by Taylor Viydo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Things are done a little differently at Sagewood Elementary.
When teachers Sarah Hiatt and Amanda Reinhardt met, they realized that their teaching styles were not all that different. That brought them to a novel idea for both of their 4th grade classes: Co-teaching.
"From there, it just clicked with us immediately and we started the second year we were together and we have co-taught everything since," says Hiatt of the unorthodox learning style.
In addition to co-teaching, Sagewood uses a class format called looping. Under the system, 4th grade teachers stay with their classes into 5th grade, meaning that Hiatt and Reinhardt will be 5th grade teachers next year and will have the same set of students. "It's a completely different situation," says Reinhardt. "There's a level of respect, because [the students] know we have two years together."
With those two years together comes another emphasis in the classroom. Hiatt and Reinhardt teach the basics like reading, writing, and math. With a class of 47 students, there is another important lesson. "We're a family, and that's what I think I like about it the most," says Hiatt. "Having that family feel is extremely important because [the students] feel comfortable, they become more confident. They're not afraid to try."
As for the students, the emphasis on family doesn't seem to go unnoticed. "Once Ms. Reinhardt went to the store, and they asked how many kids she had and she said 47!" jokes 4th grader Katie Prochnow.
All jokes aside, the 4th grade class at Sagewood truly recognizes something special in the two teachers. "They just have good attitudes and they're really nice and fun to hang out with," says Victoria Rodriguez of Hiatt and Reinhardt. "They make boring activities really fun, they include games," adds classmate Brady Dutcher.
For the 4th grade teachers, it's those same students and their 45 classmates who keep them coming to the classroom day after day. "There's days when they absolutely drive me crazy. And then they'll pull out some joke or some thing that makes me laugh, and that's what keeps me coming back," says Reinhardt. "To see the excitement in their faces, it energizes me to keep going and keep teaching and keep coming up with more creative ways to get through to maybe some of the kids who have a little bit of a harder time learning," says Hiatt.