Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8-12

Schockamoehl is in her second year of teaching; her first for the MCSD. As a high school science teacher, Schockamoehl shares her love of biology with her students. (Photo by Kim Brooks)

Tauke is a math teacher at Monticello Middle School. He’s been teaching here for 34 years. He also coaches golf, basketball, and is the district’s technology facilitator. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Tauke, Schockemoehl share love of teaching for MCSD
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The National Education Association describes National Teacher Week as “a time for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives.”

     There are numerous teachers through the Monticello Community School District who leave lasting impressions on their students’ lives. Some are long-time educators; others are just starting out their teaching career. Either way, these teachers are inspiring their students on a daily basis.

Kayla Schockemoehl

     Schockemoehl is in her second full year of teaching. She’s been with the MCSD for one year, teaching science classes.

     Schockemoehl teaches sophomore biology, anatomy and physiology for juniors and seniors, as well as co-teaches the STEM class for ninth through 12th graders.

     Having grown up in Monticello and attended Monticello High School (Schockemoehl’s maiden name is Muller. She graduated in 2007.), Schockemoehl said she chose to return to her former school, this time as a teacher. After spending her first year teaching at the North Cedar School District and living in Cascade, Schockemoehl said she wanted something closer to home.

     “It was a far drive,” she said.

     Schockemoehl was contacted by a friend about an opening within the science department at MHS.

     “I’m familiar with the district here, the community and the teachers,” she said of pursuing the opportunity. “It’s nice to be in my hometown where I’m comfortable.”

     Schockemoehl started her college education at the University of Dubuque, transferring to Clarke University to complete her bachelor’s degree in biology. She later returned to the University of Dubuque for her degree in secondary education. Schockemoehl ended up student teaching at Cascade High School.

     She said early on in her career, she thought she would teach at the middle school level. But, after her student teaching experience, Schockemoehl quickly realized the high school age was a good fit for her.

     “I like high school students because their personality fits well with mine,” she said. “You can form relationships with them, have conversations and still be a role model to them.” Overall, Schockemoehl can relate better to older students.

     As for whether she always saw herself becoming a teacher, Schockemoehl said yes and no… When she was young, like many others, she played school and always ended up as the “teacher.” However, she was also interested in pursuing biology, but needed a field in which to explore that interest.

     Like any job, teaching has its ups and downs.

     “There are days…,” smiled Schockemoehl. “And right now, the students are ready to be done.”

     Working alongside her former teachers, Schockemoehl said this just gives her a different perspective.

     “It’s a cool experience,” she said. “It’s definitely different.”

     She said some things are the same within the high school when she attended as a student, while other things are completely different.

     “It’s a whole new perspective,” she said. “The teachers here are good people.”

Curt Tauke

     Tauke has been with the MCSD for 34 years now. This was his first and only teaching job following college.

     Tauke grew up in the West Delaware School District. He attended the University of Dubuque as well for her degree in teaching seventh through 12th grade.

     Tauke said he knew in high school that he wanted to become a teacher.

     “I was active in sports and I knew teaching would be an easy way to get into coaching,” he said. “A coach is really an extension of the classroom.” Tauke said a good coach gets across to the student athletes the necessary information needed to succeed and makes the sport interesting and fun. “Teaching and coaching are very similar,” he added.

     So how did he come to teach math at the middle school level?

     “Math was the subject I scored the highest on my ACTs,” he said, simple as that. “I always liked math.”

     Tauke teaches math to Monticello middle schoolers, as well as some health classes. He is also the district’s technology facilitator. In addition, Tauke coaches MHS varsity golf and is the assistant boys basketball coach.

     During his first year in Monticello, Tauke was the eighth grade football coach, one of his most enjoyable sports to coach.

     “You can watch the growth of the kids,” he said, “from those who know nothing of the sport and end up learning a lot.”

     In his 30-plus years with the MCSD, Tauke has certainly seen a lot of changes. Most notable are changes in technology and student assessments.

     “It’s a big change in how we assess the kids,” he said. “It’s all a lot more electronic than it used to be.

     Tauke surely knows a thing or two about technology and has been quite instrumental in bringing the Monticello schools up to par with the latest and greatest in technology. He was excited and proud to see the district introducing one-on-one tablets to every student in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. Students in seventh through 12th grade will have the opportunity to take those tablets home with them as well after school and on the weekends.

     “There is a large amount of curriculum online these days,” explained Tauke. He said every classroom and every student will have the ability to access the Internet at any moment of the day, with these resources are at their fingertips.

     “Supplemental classroom materials will be available 100 percent of the time,” he said. “It’s a huge benefit.”

     This is Tauke’s sixth year as the “tech guy” for the district, and the job has also changed in that time.

     “The position involves a lot of training,” he said. “It’s become more involved.”

     The amount of technology housed within the district grows as well, with more and more accomplished online. The grading system is online, parents can register their students for school online, meal accounts are paid online; it’s endless.

     “It’s a very exciting time right now for the MCSD,” praised Tauke.

     With so much positive, the negatives come as well. Tauke admitted there is a lot being asked of teachers now.

     “There is a lot on everyone’s plate,” he said. Aside from the classroom time, teachers also spend time filling out assessments on every student individually. “There is a lot more work outside the classroom,” said Tauke.

     While he focuses on one subject, math, Tauke said elementary students take on more with teaching multiple subjects most of the time.

     “There is a special place in heaven for elementary teachers,” he said of their dedication.

     Tauke said all teachers are tasked with an important job, being role models due to the immense amount of time they spend with their students during the day, not to mention mentoring, coaching or leading a club.

     “How we act as teachers plays a big role in the students’ lives,” he said. “The family structure has changed quite a bit; and going to school for some is the best part of their day. We need to always remember that.”


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