Teacher Tuesday: LASD’s Eileen Klein.

October 6, 2020

Teacher Tuesday: LASD’s Eileen Klein.

Teacher Tuesday is a presentation of Shelby State Bank, www.shelbystatebank.com.

By Kate Krieger, MCP Staff Writer.

LUDINGTON – Eileen Klein walked right out of college and into the doors of Ludington Area Schools, where she has taught her entire 30 year career.

I graduated from Grand Ledge High School in 1987,” she said. “I went to Hope College, where I played field hockey and softball and graduated in 1991 with a degree in teaching.”

Klein has spent the majority of her time at Ludington teaching middle school-aged students, but she did spend a few years teaching high school level students as well.

My first teaching job out of college was in Ludington,” she said. “The first five years I taught special education in middle school and high school. I have taught full time in middle school for the rest of the time. I have taught special education and math. I currently teach sixth and eighth grade math. I enjoy helping sixth grade students transition to the middle school, but I also like the difference between the two grades as the eighth graders are preparing to head off to high school.”

While attending high school, Klein discovered that maybe becoming a teacher would be a career path she would enjoy taking.

I went into teaching because I loved working with kids,” she said. “In high school, I was a teacher assistant in the elementary school for two years for one of my former teachers. The teacher knew I was interested in teaching and she let me lead some of the lessons.”

Middle school is a very transitional time for students, and it takes a special teacher to be able to deal with those transitions that the students are going through.

Teaching middle school is the best,” Klein said. “I love the kids, developing relationships with them and seeing them learn and grow throughout the year. I have gone to eighth grade camp every year since I started teaching and this fall there was an empty feeling for me without it. Camp is a highlight of my school year and I love spending time with kids outside of the classroom, seeing them shine. I am lucky to work with a very great staff. They are like family and we work together as a team.” 

Along with the struggles of entering the teenage years, a lot of students also have many different hardships that teachers have added to their plates everyday outside of just teaching the educational curriculum.

I wish that each student had an equal opportunity to succeed,” Klein said. “Some students experience different circumstances than others and they are at a disadvantage because of this. We have a lot of students who are not getting their physical and emotional needs met at home and it is now becoming the job of the teacher to provide these in addition to teaching.”

Even though teaching comes with a lot more responsibilities, Klein said she loves her profession and encourages anyone with a passion for working with kids to think about teaching as a career.

“I would tell students wanting to go into education that you have to get to know your students before you can teach them,” she said. “It’s important that they feel safe and know that you are there for them.”

Creating relationships with students and families is a very important aspect to teaching. Klein said when classes switched over to online at the end of last school year, keeping those relationships going was important, but she really missed being with her students face to face.

I am so glad to be back face to face and have a classroom of kids in front of me, but it isn’t without challenges,” she said. “The kids can’t share supplies, so we have had to get creative. It’s hard for the kids to wear a mask all day, but they do it. They have been good about it and have been cooperative. It’s hard to project your voice through a mask. We have had to change how we teach because it is hard to not be able to put kids in groups and let them work together. They are missing out on this social piece of school because of our need to social distance both in the classroom and in the hallways. We are taking full advantage of the iPads and doing more things online. We are very fortunate to have these. I am glad that the kids had the opportunity to come back face to face, the kids are ready to learn and make the best out of the situation we are in.”

 

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