Updated: Jul 3
As a school board candidate, I want to express my love and appreciation for the amazing teachers in our schools.
Since I’ve gotten involved in these school issues, I’ve had several teachers privately reach out to me and other parents thanking us for taking a stand. There are teachers who are overwhelmed with identity politics and social agendas in the schools, but they feel like they cannot speak out honestly. Many good teachers are leaving the profession due to these issues and feelings. I think that’s sad for them and our students, who need good teachers.
Teachers already do so much, and they should not be required to cover topics or curricula that have nothing to do with academics and which create conflict both politically and personally for them, their students, and our families.
Recently I had an experience that caused me to think about one of my favorite teachers.
My daughter had a birthday and got this weaving loom as a gift. As I was teaching her how to weave, I could not help but remember my first grade teacher from Grant Elementary (Murray School District), Mrs. Ienatsch.
In her class we each had a wooden loom, and if we got done early with our school work or if we wanted to stay in during recess, we could weave yarn on our loom. We each made at least one full weaving, and in May we turned them into little purses to give to our moms for Mother’s Day. After 30 years my mom still had the one I made for her.
Mrs. Ienatsch’s teachings have been applied in my life regularly since 1st grade, because the pattern she taught me for addition and subtraction is something I still rely on. This past year when we started homeschooling, I created my own “Number Dots” charts for my girls, to teach them math in the way Mrs. Ienatsch taught me. I love knowing that my kids will always have these foundational math skills as they progress academically. I believe foundational academic skills are gifts for our children’s exponential progression.
Other things I loved about Mrs. Ienatsch’s class…. Writing her name with eyeball and wood notch symbols (since it was so hard to spell). The big bucket of sea shells and a magnifying glass to examine them. The “Terrific” wall, where she hung up our assignments to give us positive feedback. The “thinking pills” (one M&M or one smartie) that she allowed us to have while working on an assignment. Learning about space and dinosaurs (I wanted to be an astronaut and a paleontologist after those units). Molding and painting our own little clay dinosaurs, which we gave as gifts to our dads for Father’s Day. How she played the guitar while we sang songs as a class. Watching exercise videos and working out together as a class. And the list could go on and on!
It has been 32 years since I was in Mrs. Ienatsch’s class, but I still think of her often. She was an amazing teacher. When I was her student I felt that she really loved me, and I really loved her too. I’m so grateful for the wonderful teachers in Murray District who have positively impacted my life and the lives of all their students. I know that our teachers give so much, and I’m grateful for what they do.
As a school board member, I will stand for those amazing teachers who just want to teach academics, who are overwhelmed with political agendas in the schools, and who feel like they are not allowed to speak honestly about these issues.
April Wilde Despain