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SNN: Lessons from a retiring teacher

Kris Weller, Kenowa Hills Central Elementary photo
School News Network

After 33 years in front of a Kenowa Hills Central Elementary classroom, a retiring teacher shares her thoughts on how to bring more people into the profession and improve schooling for the students they serve.

For Kris Weller, it wasn’t about the big events or recognitions. It was the small moments…making meaningful connections and building relationships with students…that made her a more effective teacher.

She offered these thoughts from her decades of experience:

First, districts need to find ways to collaboratively address mental health issues more effectively from kindergarten on up… and teachers need ongoing training on how to best support children in this area.

Second, she says, new ways must be found to encourage people to consider teaching. In Michigan, the number of students enrolled in college teacher-preparation programs fell by about 70 percent between 2008 and 2016, according to Title II of the U.S. Higher Education Act.

Third on her fix-it list: She wishes money didn’t drive so many decisions in education and that there weren’t so many mandates. In a perfect world, she says, all students have the resources and programming they need in the district where they live.

Her advice for teachers? Build relationships with students on day one. And for parents? Partner with teachers, because educating a child is a two-way street.

Joy Walczak for School News Network