|Zebra Staff Note:|
|The Teacher Feature highlights the positive impact or innovative work of a South Dakota teacher each month. If you have a suggestion for a Teacher Feature, contact Laura Haatvedt at (605) 773-2593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.|
Fifth-graders keep Schilling on her toes
Many people might shy away from the upper elementary level, but not Lindsey Schilling, a fifth-grade teacher at McKinley Elementary in Pierre.
“At that age, they have really come into their own personalities and I love learning about each of them. They all have neat quirks that make them fun,” she said. “It's wonderful when they share things about their lives with me.”
Schilling admits that it can be a tough age at times though. “I think the biggest challenge is sometimes getting them to be excited about things we are doing in class. They are at the age where they are trying to fit in, and loving math isn't always what every other kid thinks is cool.”
To keep her students engaged, Schilling uses technology in her classroom activities and tries to make the lessons relevant by connecting them with other students across the country.
“I enjoy having laptops in my classroom, so we do many different research projects. It gives the students a way to learn so much more than just what is in their textbooks,” Schilling said. “One of my favorite things we are doing this year is writing pen pal letters with a former student and her class in Augusta, ME. The students are so excited when their new letters arrive, and we are learning about Maine and our own state of South Dakota as well.”
After graduating from USD, Schilling was a substitute teacher in the Pierre-Fort Pierre area before getting her first assignment with her own class four years ago.
“I became a teacher because I really enjoy working with kids. They amaze me every day and definitely keep a person on their toes,” Schilling said. “I always love seeing a child's eyes light up when they discover something new. The best part, and when I know I have made a difference, is when they come back from the middle school and want to catch up with me.”
Schilling, whose first son is almost a year old, had one piece of advice for new teachers.
“There are so many challenges each and every day, but don't get discouraged,” she said. “Ask those great veteran teachers for help and always remember to make time for yourself.”