Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Sydney Yalshevec

New Faces: Mary Lynch Elementary staff

An introduction to pre-k through first grade teachers


Sydney Yalshevec

Emily Imel, kindergarten instructor at May Lynch Elementary.

First impressions are important, they shape a person's outlook on something or someone for better or for worse. Pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade are a child's first impression of school. This means that it is vital for the teachers of these early grades, the impressionable grades, to create a fun atmosphere that make children want to return. The new teachers for grades pre-k through first at Mary Lynch Elementary are enthusiastic and passionate about teaching.

Kalyn Land will be Mary Lynch's new pre-k teacher. Both her parents were teachers, and they taught in Scottsbluff throughout Land's childhood. In fact, they had a farm just outside of Kimball on which she grew up.

"Well, I have a long line of teachers in my family, so I guess it's in my blood. I always wanted to be like my parents, and they're great teachers. My parents taught in Scottsbluff and so I grew up there and we also have a farm outside of Kimball and that is part of why I applied here. I have family here, and I know Kimball," Land said.

In true pursuit of her dream of being a teacher, Land has received her degree and completed her student teaching at Mitchell Elementary School. She also worked at a daycare for four years, primarily caring for younger children. Due to her experience with younger children, Land feels as though her new position is just the right fit for her.

"I love little kids and watching their faces light up when they understand something. They're at that age when school is still new and exciting, and they're excited to be there everyday and see their friends. It's not really much of a struggle to get them to want to learn when they are excited and they're ready to absorb what they are hearing," Land said.

Land also has an interesting way of approaching the atmosphere in her classroom. Her plan is to have a family setting in her classroom. This method of conducting her classroom came to her through her mentor Sherry Johnson, a teacher in Scottsbluff.

"I have had a really good mentor in Sherry Johnson in Scottsbluff. She helped me learn about having a family setting in the classroom and making the kids feel like they're a part of something. It is a way to help prevent bullying and help make the kids feel like they belong," Land said.

Land plans on executing this method by helping her students learn more about each other. Once they know more about each of their fellow classmates lives then they will hopefully feel more connected to one another, therefore cutting down on bullying.

"You can do this by having show and tells. Kids bring in things they think are special or pictures of their family and the other kids can ask questions and get to know each other. This is nice especially because most of these kids will be growing up in school together so it's a way to get to know each other," Land said.

Land hopes to finish up with some particular schooling so that she might be able to obtain an endorsement in working with young children.

"This is my first year teaching. So I am really excited to teach them just as much this year as I can," Land said.

Emily Imel is Mary Lynch's new Kindergarten instructor. While it is her first year teaching, she is very enthusiastic about teaching children.

"This is my first year teaching. I enjoy watching kids learn. I really enjoy watching the light bulb go off as they grasp a concept, and I ended up going down that path .you know. I changed majors a couple times and finally found that teaching is what makes me happy. I enjoy watching students learn things and take things in," Imel said.

Imel just recently graduated from Chadron State and did her student teaching last fall in Clearwater, Nebraska. She first met the school administration from Kimball at Chadron. In fact, the administration made such an impact on her that she decided to apply.

"I really love the administration in Kimball. When I went to teacher interview day at Chadron, I met Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Lewis up there and then I went for another interview and I absolutely loved the district," Imel said.

Imel viewes her teaching as a learning experience as well. She wants to learn how to reach each individual child and then try to incorporate several different techniques into her lessons.

"I like to do a lot of hands-on and that tends to be how a lot of younger kids learn best is the hands-on [approach]. However, I intend to execute all the other types of learning out there: auditory, visual and, you know, just about anything. I plan to use all of my technology to teach students. I try to figure out what each student's learning method is, because I really try to incorporate all of what I can in the way I teach," Imel said.

Imel is hoping that she is not the only one excited for the new year. Especially being the teacher of such a young group of children, she encourages the parents get involved as well.

"One of the things we try to encourage parents to do is to be excited about school. Be really excited about what the kids learn and we hope that by the parents showing excitement the kids will view school as a positive experience and will want to keep coming back. Parents should ask their kids what they did at school and be interested. That will show their kids that they learned something worthwhile," Imel said.

A first teaching job can be intimidating, however, Imel has chosen a positive outlook on her future.

"Everyday is going to be a learning opportunity. Even though I finished my schooling I will be learning everyday. Every student is going to teach you something new," Imel said.

Renee Carlson is set to be Mary Lynch's first grade instructor this coming school year. She grew up in Springfield, a small town outside of Omaha about half the size of Kimball.

"I guess what attracted me to the area is my best friend teaches up at Banner County and I have spent a lot of time here and grown attached to western Nebraska. So when I found out that Kimball had an opening I decided to give it a shot," Carlson said.

Carlson is going on her sixth year of teaching and can't quite pinpoint the exact moment teaching became her profession of choice.

"I can't really put my finger on why I wanted to be a teacher.My mom says I've always said that I wanted to be a teacher, and I guess I just always had really good teachers growing up that paid each individual such attention and encouraged us and were there for us and tried to push us to do our best," Carlson said.

In like fashion of the teachers she had that set an example, Carlson wants to provide consistency and stability for children today. Her belief being that sometimes school is the only place such consistency can be found.

"I have chosen to stay with it because I like making a difference in kids lives. A lot of times teachers and school might be the only consistency that a child has, especially due to the change in the modern family. I guess I just like to be a good force in the life of kids," Carlson said.

Carlson is drawn to teaching younger children and that is the area she specializes in, early childhood. As a result, she was very pleased to learn about her new position as first grade instructor. Carlson identified herself as a kid at heart and really enjoys the caregiving aspect of her job.

"I guess because when they are that little they still need a mom figure around. They need that care, and they still like to be silly. They like to dance around and sing. I guess that I'm just such a kid at heart that I enjoy being able to be a goofball at times with them too," Carlson said.

Her teaching methods differ in order to instruct all the different types of learners that may be present in her classroom.

"I'm really big on differentiating my instructions because every child learns in a different way. I try not to get in a rut, because it might reach these five kids but it's not going to reach the other ten kids in the class. I try to make sure I'm always hitting things in different ways so they always have a fair shot of getting it," Carlson said.

While she is very enthused to be involved with the school in Kimball, Carlson also endeavors to be a part of the community.

"I'm really excited to get involved with the school here and with the community. I am really looking forward to this next chapter and hope that it proves to be a successful relationship with the school.

Land, Imel, and Carlson are all excited to begin the school year at Mary Lynch. There are still even more new teachers and instructors that will be introduced in the next issue that share in the excitement.


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