Woodbury Elementary teacher named a top educator by local chamberA parent of a student in Michelle Kiesel’s class took it upon herself to get Kiesel named “Elementary Teacher of the Year” by the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
A parent of a student in Michelle Kiesel’s class took it upon herself to get Kiesel named “Elementary Teacher of the Year” by the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce.
The mother, who had three of her children in Kiesel’s kindergarten class, nominated the Woodbury Elementary teacher for the annual award.
Kiesel said the parent who wrote the letter received input from other parents and interviewed past students.
“She showed me the letter and I told her that it’s really great that she thinks that — just knowing that is all I need to know,” Kiesel said.
But the good news didn’t end there as Kiesel said she was shocked to later learn she was to be honored as the community’s outstanding elementary school teacher.
“I’m really honored that I was even looked at,” Kiesel said. “That was a really wonderful surprise.”
Keeping kids interested
The Inver Grove Heights resident has spent all of the last eight years teaching kindergarten at Woodbury Elementary.
Kiesel was always naturally drawn to working with children — she originally wanted to be a child psychologist.
She decided to turn to teaching after working with children in local schools while in college.
“I guess it’s just kind of this snow ball that just got bigger and bigger,” she said.
Kiesel said she knew kindergarten would be the right fit because she’s always been inspired by young students’ eagerness to learn.
“They’re so enthusiastic and happy to be here ,” she said, “And it’s really cool when you’re teaching something and you can see that light bulb go off in their head.”
The challenges of the
Kiesel said some of the challenges involved in teaching kindergarten include— budgets, politics, and different learning styles for each of her students.
“It’s more the big picture of teaching, not so much the classroom,” she said. “It would be nice if you had the opportunity to do all the things you envisioned doing with your students without all the hurdles you have to jump over, but it’s always going to be that way so it’s something you have to get used to.”
One challenge that is strictly unique to kindergarten classrooms is that the teacher has the job of integrating students who are new to the elementary school, every year.
“Other teachers get history from the year before so they can kind of set things up for the students, whereas we don’t get that luxury,” Kiesel said. “You start the year with kids who can read, and kids who have never seen a letter and you as a teacher have to try and figure out how to teach all of them together.”
The Woodbury Chamber of Commerce annual gala and silent auction is Jan. 29 from 6-9 p.m. at the Prom Center in Oakdale. Ticket are $50 per person, and $400 per table. Contact Nancy Kennedy at (651) 578-0722.