Janet Anderson, left, with Staples Elementary Principal Kathy Johnson on the last day of school May 27, Anderson’s last day of teaching.

Janet Anderson appreciates being part of education

Her classroom is all packed up and moved to Motley, but Janet Anderson won’t be moving with it. She is retiring after 14 years of teaching fifth grade at Staples Elementary School and 17 years as a teacher in the school district.

“It is really different cleaning out the room this time, I love the students and staff here, it is a big change,” said Anderson.

She said it is a privilege to have taught in the district. “I will miss every day being together with the students,” she said. “Students are like family, you build relationships with them and their families and it becomes meaningful. That is the highlight of my career,” she said.

Anderson began teaching in the Twin Cities, but took time off to raise her children. She and her husband Paul moved to Staples and Janet continued as a full time mother. But she was always involved in her kids’ classrooms and was one of the main drivers in starting the Parent Teacher Connection at the elementary school.

She is proud that the PTC is still going strong and has been instrumental in making field trips possible and building the new school playground. “It gets parents into the schools, which the kids love,” she said.

She did that and taught half a year in Staples before moving to Motley. She enjoyed that in part because some of her kids were at the middle school at that time. But she came back to Staples and settled on fifth grade. “I love this grade, they are building on skills,” she said.

Anderson has realized how crucial teamwork is in teaching and said she worked well with Paul Mithun, her fellow fifth grade teacher and also with a few different teachers who filled the third section of fifth grade at the school. “All the teams were very strong,” she said

Anderson sees the promise of teamwork as boding well for the new school realignment when all district grades will be in the same building. “The new teams that are forming are doing great work, it is a healthy change,” she said.

Through her teaching career, Anderson found that “education is like fashion in the way that trends come back, sometimes with a different name,” she said.

One change is the desire and ability to bring more technology into the classroom, especially at the elementary level. Anderson said an effective trend is toward grouping students with similar learning needs. One thing that stays the same is that “kids love to learn,” she said.

Anderson was able to see how her teaching is a part of the full education spectrum, through her four children who benefited from the Staples Motley district. She said they all earned masters degrees but she is also proud that they continued with music, including three sons who still write and perform. “The music here is at a college level,” she said.

“We didn’t know what Staples Motley was all about,” she said. “We found it is well balanced with music, athletics, arts and academics. The kids were involved with everything, and they have taken it with them.”

Anderson said she is not worried about finding something to do after retirement. She plans to be a substitute teacher for a while and will take time to visit her children and grandchildren who are out of state.

“I will find things in the community I can help with, I want to use my time wisely,” she said. One example is a Bible Study Fellowship group she is participating in.

“It is said that educators are one of the most content fields, I agree with that,” said Anderson. “Teachers spend so much time with their class, I appreciate everyone who came into my class, and am very thankful for each one.”

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