Makenna Kelley is one of the two new kindergarten teachers that will start teaching in the fall in Lake County School District #7.
Kelley currently lives in Galt, Calif., which is a small farming community south of Sacramento, Calif. She is a recent graduate of the University of Wyoming where she worked in the pre-school on campus and received her degree in elementary and early childhood education. She said a large component of her program was learning how to deliver material through online tools and portals.
“I visited the area last fall with a friend and I was like, why not apply. The area is beautiful and I have wanted to live in a small Oregon town,” said Kelley.
She has an aunt who lives in Boise, Idaho, and when traveling by car would go through Lakeview on her way to visit her family. Also she has a friend who currently lives and works in Lakeview.
“I am very excited about the move. Working with young kids is a passion and I love it,” said Kelley.
While she did consider teaching older elementary school students, she loves the kindergarten age. She considers it a wonderful time when she can impart the importance and fun of life-long learning into the students. She described the personalities of kindergarten age students as like sponges; always learning, and constant excitement. They learn at an exceptionally fast rate.
“I want them to love education and be proud of what they are achieving, and to be good little humans,” said Kelley.
She knows that many students learn differently and is prepared to teach lessons in many different ways to have all of her students learn at their best way. That may include teaching through songs, whether it is a song about cleaning or how to be nice to a fellow student. An important aspect, is that part of kindergarten is learning how to go to school and get along with peers.
“For many of these kids this will be the first time they are away from home and interacting with different kids that they might not know already,” said Kelley.
School districts are currently working on plans for the 2020-21 school year and if instruction will be delivered via distance learning, in the classroom or a hybrid of the two.
Kelley understands that teachers need to be ready for whatever is thrown at them in the next school year, and they need to be role models for their students no matter what instruction looks like.
She said that it is important as a kindergarten teacher to build relationships, and whatever mode teaching used to continue working on those relationships and to help the students however she can. One area of concern is how incoming students might feel after the past couple months of disruptions. Kelley said it is important to address the recent trauma that they might have experienced while being stuck at home.
“We have to be open to answering questions from the students and to help them work through any issues or confusion they might be experiencing,” said Kelley.
According to Kelley, it is important for her that instruction be face-to-face as much as possible with kindergarten students, especially at the beginning of the year when most of the instruction is learning how to go to school. In terms of facemasks, which is a current requirement under Oregon Department of Education guidelines for teachers and staff, she would prefer a face shield because she says that it is important for students, especially young ones, to see her face and emotions as they often learn through reading body language and the like.
“I am so excited about coming to Lakeview, no matter what the fall looks like,” said Kelley.
In her spare time she likes to play with her dogs, go camping and fishing, hang out with friends and reading mystery/thriller novels.
For more information call 541-947-3347.