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Teachers' back-to-school excitement and angst

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Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

The start of the school year is fast approaching and that means teachers are back in the classroom transforming a blank classroom into a home away from home. This process is time-consuming and often comes with out-of-pocket costs in the hundreds of dollars.

On this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with 4th-grade teacher Gina Ferrel about her back-to-school prep, and high school teacher and Chalkbeat advice columnist Kem Smith and University of Northern Iowa education expert Jenny Connolly share their tips for new teachers. Later, Connolly also talks about how she is getting her kids ready for the new school year.


  • Gina Ferrel, Iowa City 4th grade teacher
  • Kem Smith, 11th and 12th-grade English teacher, Chalkbeat advice columnist, holds a doctorate in education
  • Jenny Connolly, director of the Advising & Teacher Education Success Office, University of Northern Iowa college of education
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Dani Gehr is a producer for River to River and Talk of Iowa. Dani came to Iowa from her hometown in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to attend Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism, international studies and French. Before coming to IPR, Dani covered local government in Story County for the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.