Heidi Teuscher of Geneva will be a new morning kindergarten teacher at AJ Winters this next school year.
Heidi has worked as a paraprofessional for the past six years, starting in Paris for a year and then at AJ Winters for five years. She recently obtained her degree from Western Governor’s University and then began long-term subbing for other teachers last year. This will be the first year she will have her own class.
Heidi has always loved the kindergarten age students, so she says it was a pretty easy choice when this position came open to teach kindergarten. Her plans are, number one, to help her students stay in school. She says kindergarten is a really hard year to do online, so she really needs them in the classroom. Kids learn a lot of their social behaviors at that age and they need to be together. They learn their sounds, the alphabet, numbers counting to 100, and adding and subtracting; all ideas they will hopefully know by the end of the year, and it is so much more helpful if they can be in the classroom to learn them.
However, she has already put together a number book and an alphabet book so their learning can keep happening both on paper and digitally if they do end up going home to learn.
Heidi says she is just so excited to have them in the classroom and get to know the “cute little kindergarteners” and work with the parents. She says it takes not only teachers, but parents as well. She says, “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun. I’m just excited to start and get them here. We have a lot to learn in just the short days we have with them. I’m excited to help these kids start to read, which is an exciting thing that happens in kindergarten. I’m also excited to do art projects with them. Kindergarten has accelerated a lot from what it used to be.”
Because of the COVID-19 situation, there have been quite a few changes and things put in place to take care of the health and well-being of the children. Heidi says there will be breaks they will take just for hand washing before breakfast and before PE for her morning class. There will be similar breaks for the afternoon kindergarten class as well. In fact, there are hand-washing stations in the classrooms now just for this purpose.
They will be keeping the desks as far apart as possible so there is more space between them.
In the past, there was a community bucket of pencils and crayons. Those materials will not be shared anymore; now they will be separate.
They also won’t be sharing the games and toys as they have in the past.
It is recommended the kids wear masks, and the parents are encouraged to train their children to wear them. However, because it isn’t mandatory, Heidi says it will be hard to enforce, especially with these little ones. She will be reminding them when they leave the classroom and at other times, but she will not be enforcing it. It will be up to the parents to train them.
She is confident it will all work out as they get to know one another and work together.
Heidi grew up in Bear Lake and graduated from Bear Lake High School in 1993. She then attended Ricks College (Now BYU-Idaho) where she obtained her associates degree in social sciences. Her husband, James Teuscher, went to high school with her, but they didn’t date until they were in college together at Ricks. They later got married and he went on with his education to Utah State in Logan and she worked to put him through school. Then they started their family of three children: Lindsay (21) who just returned from a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Charlotte, NC; Whitney (16) who will be a junior at Bear Lake High School and is heavily involved in FFA; and Rily (13) who will be in the eighth grade at the Middle School and plays football. Heidi says they are all good working farm kids who get up and move pipe and haul hay. They all work together as a family a great deal.
Heidi says she loves Bear Lake; that this is home. She and James moved back here to Geneva 11 years ago after being away for 14 years. They’ve been all over, and lived in Preston for nine years before moving back to Bear Lake. She says, “This community means a lot to me. We have seen many great things about Bear Lake. It’s a beautiful place to live, and Geneva is a beautiful place to live.”
She goes on to say, “I’m so excited to have students back in school. The community and society as a whole need what having school back in session means. Mentally and physically, our youth need to be back in school and have that opportunity to be together. COVID may escalate, but it’s more important to bring normalcy to the kids. I took a first-grade class through COVID last spring. The kids needed the interaction with each other during that time. The learning blocks of how to interact with others their own age is a big part of the school environment. They really missed that interaction when they were having to stay at home. They learn teacher-to-student, or even the dialogue between two students. They need that and can’t have it when they aren’t in the school environment. I just hope we are able to keep that for them this year.”
“You could say, I just love learning.”