Payton Thomas

Payton Thomas plans on becoming an elementary school teacher in Iowa after graduation. When she isn’t studying, Payton enjoys hanging out with her friends, running, and learning about other cultures and lifestyles. 

Get to know Payton 

  • Major: Elementary education 
  • Class: Senior 
  • Hometown: Corning, Iowa (Adams County)
  • Career goal: Elementary school teacher in Iowa 
  • Clubs/activities: Honors Program 
  • Awards/honors: Dean’s list 
  • Favorite place on campus: Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching (CTLT) in Lagomarcino Hall
  • Most influential ISU mentor: Jennifer Stover
  • Favorite class: EDUC 377, The Teaching of Reading and Language Arts in the Primary Grades (K-3) 
  • Why Iowa State: Esteemed education program, sense of home 

Payton Thomas prepares to craft personal teaching philosophy 

Payton Thomas first realized that she wanted to become an elementary teacher when she was a child herself. 

“I have always wanted to be a teacher,” Payton said. “I used to make my brother and sister play school with me when we were growing up.” 

Payton volunteered in a kindergarten classroom her senior year of high school and it solidified her teaching aspirations. She gained her first round of hands-on experience in the classroom while observing the everyday routine of an elementary school teacher — a role she could easily see herself filling. 

“That experience reassured me that becoming a teacher was what I wanted to do,” she said.

Since beginning her studies in elementary education, Payton has developed her leadership and teaching skills by getting involved in the Iowa State and Ames communities.

Payton currently works at Mitchell Elementary School as an America Reads America Counts tutor, helping students practice sight words and read stories. 

“My favorite part about [being a tutor] is getting classroom experience, learning the teacher’s philosophy, and learning how to build my own philosophy as a teacher,” she said. 

She was also a peer mentor for Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers, a learning community at Iowa State that helps guide incoming freshman who are navigating their first semester. The position gave her the opportunity to grow as a leader.

Payton is anticipating the day she will have her own classroom so she can utilize her skills and make a positive impact on children.

“I’m looking forward to having my own classroom, and hopefully helping and changing the lives of my students for the better,” she said. “I want to create a safe and comfortable environment for them.”

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