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Anelyese Gerst '21 Headshot

Undergraduate Program

Anelyese Gerst '21

Elementary Education

Passing on a Passion for Learning

Inspired by her family and professors at MMU, Anelyse Gerst ’21 hopes to cultivate a love of learning in her own students some day soon.

MMU: What about teaching interested you? When did your passion for education start?

AG: Growing up, I had family and friends who were teachers, and I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a teacher as well. I remember playing school with my younger siblings and dreaming of the day I would have a classroom of my own. In high school, I was privileged to be a teacher assistant and tutor for a high school Spanish class. My Spanish teacher encouraged me to consider going for an endorsement in English as a second language (ESL), and my passion for this area has grown throughout my field experiences at Mount Mercy.

I believe that learning comes from both what students already know and the experiences we as teachers create for them. As a teacher, I hope to inspire students to love learning and grow their curiosity about the world around them.

Anelyese Gerst '21
Elementary Education

MMU: What is your philosophy regarding education? How is your Mercy education affecting you so far?

AG: I believe that learning comes from both what students already know and the experiences we as teachers create for them. As a teacher, I hope to inspire students to love learning and grow their curiosity about the world around them. Differentiation in the classroom is extremely important to me as well, because I believe that each student is unique and has unique challenges. I hope to facilitate rich learning experiences for all of my students and promote their growth in all areas, including academically, emotionally, and socially. I believe that teaching involves connecting with students on a personal level, while being authentic and professional.

Through my Mount Mercy experiences, I’ve come to appreciate the need to create and facilitate learning experiences and discussions with the students. My teachers have emphasized interactive and indirect lessons, allowing me to understand more fully the value of exploration and inquiry in each lesson. 

Through my Mount Mercy experiences, I’ve come to appreciate the need to create and facilitate learning experiences and discussions with the students.

MMU: Why did you choose Mount Mercy’s education program over others? What interested you about MMU?

AG: I chose the Mount Mercy education program because of its high reputation. I had two aunts graduate from this program, and I knew I would be given multiple opportunities for field work, allowing me to apply what I learn in class directly to the elementary classroom. I had been on campus multiple times and loved the area and location of Mount Mercy University. I also appreciated the small class size of the elementary education classes.

MMU: What excites you most about your courses? What’s one lesson or piece of advice you’ve taken to heart?

AG: My professional development school (PDS) experience the fall of my junior year has been the most exciting opportunity I have had in my time at Mount Mercy. During that semester, we had class at an elementary school and were able to apply what we learned during our lectures directly into authentic teaching experiences in classrooms. I learned so much during this experience and definitely grew both personally and professionally.

One piece of advice that I will always remember is to continue to be an authentic, life-long learner and to pass on my love of learning to my students.

During that semester, we had class at an elementary school and were able to apply what we learned during our lectures directly into authentic teaching experiences in classrooms.

Anelyese Gerst '21
Elementary Education

MMU: What area of education interests you the most, e.g. reading, math, science, special education, etc.? What does your dream job look like?

AG: My endorsements are in reading and ESL and I’m most interested in these areas. However, my classes at Mount Mercy have given me an interest in other subjects as well, including math, social studies, and special education. I hope to continue my education in these subjects through professional development opportunities during my teaching career. After I graduate, I hope to teach in an elementary classroom where I can put my ESL and reading endorsements to good use, preferably in grades first through fourth.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue growing as a musician while working toward my bachelor’s degree in elementary education, something that may not be possible at all universities.

MMU: What besides the academics excites you about Mount Mercy?

AG: I play French horn for the Mount Mercy band and participate in a small brass ensemble on campus. The music department at Mount Mercy has been extremely understanding with my busy schedule as I try to balance classes, field work, band rehearsals, and off-campus work. I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue growing as a musician while working toward my bachelor’s degree in elementary education, something that may not be possible at all universities.

MMU: What’s one challenge you’ve faced so far and how did you overcome it?

AG: I was worried about teaching whole-class lessons for the first time because I had mostly worked small-group or one-on-one with students before PDS. My teachers at Mount Mercy helped me work through this very quickly! One of my first assignments during PDS was to teach a whole-class routine lesson, and I had multiple opportunities throughout the semester to continue working on my teaching skills and classroom management. I know that my teachers at Mount Mercy will continue to support me in this area as I go into student teaching in the fall.

After I graduate, I will look back on my time at Mount Mercy and remember that while it wasn’t easy, I always had people around me who supported me every step of the journey.

Anelyese Gerst '21
Elementary Education

MMU: Anything to add?

AG: My teachers at Mount Mercy have been extremely supportive. Whenever I was struggling with school or my personal life, they were quick to offer encouragement and advice. Their feedback was always constructive and helped me grow to become a better person and a better teacher. After I graduate, I will look back on my time at Mount Mercy and remember that while it wasn’t easy, I always had people around me who supported me every step of the journey.

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