DES MOINES, Iowa — School can have its challenges for students and it’s oftentimes the teachers working alongside them that can be the difference between a student dropping out of class or sticking with it.

For Cydney Irvine, school has never been her sweet spot. Dealing with behavioral problems, anxiety and focus have always made school a challenge for the junior at Roosevelt High School.

“It’s been hard to even think about my life after high school because I just, I want to get out. I’ve never thrived in school.”

Irvine says she had trouble connecting with her teachers in the past until she took a class with Michaella Kleinmeyer. The environmental teacher has only been teaching for two years but says her approach to teaching is low stress, keeping in mind the hardships many of her students deal with on a daily basis.

“A lot of them have jobs, siblings, or kids they have to take care of so I try to keep my classroom in my classroom. Students typically don’t have homework unless they don’t do their work in class,” she says.

Irvine says she now has a different outlook on school thanks to the kind of teacher who she says was patient and never made her feel dumb for trying to learn.

“I’m thinking I could do a few years at DMACC,” Irvine says. “Before, I would have crumbled at the thought.”

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