Marcia Cutsforth and Whitney Ott: Teaching full circle - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Marcia Cutsforth and Whitney Ott: Teaching full circle

Some say "everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten."

One teacher and her former student at Kingsley Elementary in Waterloo found the first year of school does have a lasting effect on the future.

Marcia Cutsforth and Whitney Ott are two people you should know.

Mrs. Marcia Cutsforth has taught kindergarten for nearly 30 years. She says she loves helping inspire future leaders.

"This is what I was made to do," Cutsforth said. But she never thought she would inspire a student twice-over.

Teaching student Whitney Ott asked, "My Mrs. Cutsforth?" when she found out her assignment.

Meet Whitney Ott, student teacher with Mrs. Cutsforth, and former kindergarten student of, you guessed it. "This is Whitney when she was 5 years old in my class," says Mrs. Cutsforth, pointing to an old school picture.

"I was thrilled," Cutsforth said upon finding out.

Ott would be the new student teacher.

"After all, everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten."

16 years ago in the 1991-'92 school year, Whitney Ott practiced her A-B-C's with Mrs. Cutsforth. The two say a total scheduling fluke brought them together.

"It's wild!" say students in the class.

"There are teachers who make you want to be a teacher, and Mrs. Cutsforth was one of those," said Ott. 

The duo's relationship has gone from teacher and student, to teacher and teacher, to mutual admiration society.

"My friends ask me, does it make you feel old? And I say no, proud. Whitney was born to be a teacher, the children love her," Cutsforth said. 

"When I was little I wanted to be a teacher, then in high school I wanted to make lots of money. But when it came time to decide, I knew I wanted to be a teacher," said Ott.

The veteran and novice educators both say this full-circle situation has shed new light on the power of teaching.

"Maybe I had a little influence, or did something right," Cutsforth said.

"First I wanted to teach 5th grade, but now in kindergarten, they're too cute." Ott said.

You never know who you might inspire. Both educators look forward to inspiring more future leaders. Mrs. Cutsforth will continue to teach, while Whitney Ott can start teaching full-time this Fall. 

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