Meghan Gander, Third Grade
Mrs. Gander has been on staff at St. Ambrose since 2007. She went to St. Mary’s University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education. She has been a part of Catholic schools her entire life!
Mrs. Gander wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember. Her mother taught elementary school and she knew her mother loved her job. Her mother’s influence had a positive effect on her own decision to become a teacher. She believes in creating a welcoming and caring environment in her classroom. Helping students reach their full potential is an important part of her philosophy. She believes teaching involves reaching students emotionally, spiritually, socially and academically. Mrs. Gander strives to create an environment where all of her students can feel accepted and encouraged. One of her favorite units to teach is book clubs. She enjoys reading and discussing the literature with her students.
Mrs. Gander loves being a part of the St. Ambrose staff. She feels everyone here is very dedicated and professional. She also enjoys keeping physically fit and is a swimmer and a runner. She promotes the importance of exercise and physical well-being with her students. In her free time, she also likes to read children’s books and encourages her own students to be readers.
“What I’ve learned from working with third grade students is that they can surprise you daily with their talents and curiosity. Sometimes they can act older than their years and other times they still need a hand to hold. They aim to please and they are most delightful.” – Meghan Gander
Bailey Gardner, Third Grade
Bailey Gardner, Third Grade
Ms. Gardner joined the 3rd grade teaching team at Saint Ambrose in 2016. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education (with a concentration in Language Arts) from DePaul University. She completed her student teaching in Chicago, where she worked in a 3rd grade classroom and as a 1:1 support teacher for a junior high student with learning needs. Additionally, she works at a summer camp called Celebrate Me Week. At CMW, campers spend the week with 7th graders and learn about enhancing their self-esteem and seeing their own self-worth.
Ms. Gardner credits her interest in education to having several family members who are teachers. She remembers spending summers helping her aunt set up her classroom, and could often times be found making her younger brothers play school with her! Once she got to college, she realized she wanted to teach and help students find their confidence, grow their minds and have fun.
She feels her teaching style can be summed up in three words – wonder, curiosity and interest. These are all qualities that she wants her students to learn in her classroom. Ms. Gardner believes in guided practice for students so they can explore their interests, express their creativity and take risks. She strongly feels it’s her role to help students identify their strengths, and she offers praise to students when they find ways to put those strengths to good use in the classroom. She firmly believes that teaching students to be leaders at this age will help set them up for success in all areas of their lives.
Ms. Gardner strives to create a welcoming, safe and comfortable environment in her classroom. She establishes rules and routines for students to follow, so they feel safe. She also loves to bring creativity into the classroom, including everything from lesson activities to décor. Her favorite thing about teaching in a Catholic school is bringing Jesus into all aspects of the classroom, not just Religion class. By teaching students to be better disciples in Christ, she feels students will grow in other areas of their lives. She also loves that Catholic schools have strong and supportive communities.
“Students end up teaching me much more than I can teach them! Every day, they teach me to be a better person – to be gentle, to be patient, and to love unconditionally.” – Bailey Gardner
Tiffany Madigan, Third Grade
Mrs. Madigan has a Bachelor’s Degree in human development and family studies from the University of Wisconsin – Stout, and a Master’s in Education from St. Kate’s. She has been with St. Ambrose since 2006. Before coming to St. Ambrose, she taught second grade for several years, which helped her understand where third graders are coming from! She also believes her job as a mother of three has prepared her to support her students not only academically, but emotionally, too. She understands first-hand how important it is to have structure and consistency, along with warmth, caring and a gentle touch.
Mrs. Madigan has always wanted to teach. (She even remembers being in second grade and using her closet doors as a chalkboard, which didn’t make her mother too happy, but she and her neighbors played school for hours and had a great time!) She feels every classroom presents a unique community of learners that varies not only in abilities, but also in learning styles. Mrs. Madigan believes that her role as a teacher is to give children the tools they need to reach success in their own way. She believes the key to her classroom starts with respect and branches out from there (“RESPECT” = Ready to learn; Excitement; Safe and secure; Patience and practice; Encouragement; Continuously building on our faith; Teaching and listening to each other).
Mrs. Madigan loves being a part of a Catholic school, where she can refer back to a shared Catholic faith anytime during the day. She likes that she can “live” out her faith each day with her students and fellow teachers. She also loves learning about new things and tries to teach her students how important it is to always want to know more – ask a lot of questions, make mistakes and try new things. She also enjoys being active and having fun.
“I learn from third graders how to be simple. I learn how amazing life is and how to celebrate all of our successes big and small. I learn that it is important to hear how important we are in this world. To hand out as many compliments and smiles to everyone we meet. I have also learned how to be a really great friend. To make sure students know how very special they are to me and how colorful they make my world!” – Tiffany Madigan