Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2017

Heim builds community in the classroom

By David Hotle | Nov 02, 2012
Abby Heim

Abby Heim, a new teacher at Lincoln Elementary says that her goal when educating students is to build community in her classrooms. She said that she never wants a student to say that he is sorry that he attended one of her classes.

Born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Heim found herself drawn to education. She says that during her school years, she struggled to learn some of the lessons being taught. As a result she developed a desire to help others learn.

After recently graduating from Simpson College in Indianola where she studied elementary education, she took the position of resource teacher and third and fourth grade special education teacher. During college, she said, she was involved in education club. The club worked with area teachers in classrooms and had discussions on what was happening in the legislature.


What brings you to Washington?

I applied to Washington because I was very interested in the community they have here. I’m from Cedar Rapids – it’s a bigger district – and I knew I kind of wanted to start teaching in a smaller district. I had heard great things about Washington and the community they had here. I knew as a first year teacher and someone living alone that a smaller town was something I would be interested in.


Since you have been in Washington, what do you think?

I love it. So far I have been involved in Washington Community Theater and I have gotten to know a lot of people through the school. So far I have been very happy.


What’s your favorite thing about Washington?

I live on the square and one of my favorite things when I first moved here were all the activities down on the square. It helped me being new to get involved and come down to the farmer’s market and the different bands and the fountain and everything. It helped me get out of my apartment and get to know people right away.


How did you decide to become a teacher?

Particularly in special education – I struggled quite a bit as a student growing up and I had a soft spot for the students that were really struggling, particularly in math and reading. I started observing special education and I really fell in love with the small group atmosphere and that is when I decided that I wanted to do special education.


What is something that most people wouldn’t know about being a special education teacher?

There is a lot of paperwork involved, keeping up to date with the students Individualized Education Plans. It is a very data driven job. Everything is taken off of assessments and we are constantly assessing our students in many different ways. We are really trying to find the growth for students on their own level rather than comparing them with their peers.


What is your philosophy of being a special education teacher?

My philosophy is that my students enjoy being there and look forward to coming to school every day and that they are never fearful of coming to school. That I build a community in my classroom.


What are some of your hobbies?

I’m involved in the theater, I love to read and I dance. I also spend a lot of time with my family.


What goals do you have for the future?

I guess my goals are to be more established where I’m living and that I know more of what’s going on with my job. I’ll be a more experienced teacher and I won’t have to constantly be referencing my colleagues and can be a mentor to new teachers.

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