Senior follows teaching dream at Cassingham Elementary

The bell rings to start the day for hundreds of elementary students. Some kids that fill the classrooms are energetic, some are shy and some are nervous about learning. Teachers have to take on the task of educating these students and appealing to their needs.

Senior Eli Dresbach has risen to this challenge, taking the opportunity to student teach at Cassingham Elementary, and he said that he has fallen in love with the job of teaching.

Senior Elijah Dresbach helps first-grade student at Cassingham. (Photo by Katie Jude)

Dresbach works with first-grade students three days a week and gifted fourth-grade students on Fridays, and he is in the library the other days, he said.

“I help teach the lessons, give directions for assignments, and help the students read and write,” he said.

Dresbach knew he wanted to become an elementary school teacher by helping take care of his younger sister and spending his summers coaching kids in basketball and swimming, adding that coaching made him fall in love with working with kids.

“Seeing the kids on the first day not able to do a particular drill but then over time being able to do it perfectly is what’s really rewarding about it,” he said.

He explained that he started student teaching after talking with his counselor, Stephanie Krosnosky.

“Ms. Krosnosky offered me the idea to student teach at Cassingham, so I emailed the elementary school guidance counselor, who set everything up for me,” Dresbach said.

Student teaching as a senior will help him with his elementary education major in college, he said. He added that through his student teaching, he discovered he wanted to work with first and second graders.

“They are really funny and very honest with you,” he said. “They know how to read and write, but they just need to improve on their skills.”

Dresbach said his favorite thing to teach students are perplexer puzzles. He explained that these puzzles consist of groups of four students who each answer a set of questions. The students have to ask questions and use clues to figure out each other’s answers to the questions asked.

“It’s fun to see the students try and work out the puzzles together,” he said. “When they’re done with the puzzle, they’re so excited.”

Through this process, Dresbach said he has become a better listener.

“You have to be able to work with them without just giving them the answer,” he said.

Sometimes teaching comes with its challenges, and Dresbach explained it can be a struggle to get students focused and motivated after recess.

“It takes them a while to wind down, but it can be funny watching them so hyper,” he said.

The rewards Dresbach feels are much greater than any of the challenges he’s faced.

“It’s not just helping students with their reading and writing,” he said. “It’s helping kids have a safe place. I want kids to feel as though they can come to me and ask for help if they ever need anything.”

He feels accomplished when he sees he’s helped these students figure out something they were struggling with earlier, he said.

“I just want to help others achieve their goals,” Dresbach explained.

He encourages others to look into similar programs while in high school.

“If you have a particular skill, find a way to utilize it in high school because it will help you get the experience you need to achieve your goals,” he said.