Kristen Wring, a kindergarten teacher from Portage, has always been a supporter of education.
“I love education. I loved school from when I was a student in elementary all the way to college. I’ve always loved learning and finding new, exciting material as a professional. It’s important to be motivated to try something new,” she said.
Wring has been a Portage resident her entire life.
“I love it because I feel comfortable here. I enjoy going to the store or to a sporting event and knowing basically everyone there,” she said.
In her free time, Wring enjoys working in the yard, watching her daughter practice gymnastics, going biking or hiking on the trails with her kids, and reading.
Along with her son and daughter, Wring also has her husband and high school sweetheart, Dave, to lean on.
“A lot of my motivation comes from my family. I have a lot of family support. It’s important to me that I set an example for my daughter and son of how to be a good, well-rounded person and modeling that.”
She capitalized on the importance of modeling behaviors and new routines, such as beginning to exercise or reading - see tip at the end!
Kristen carried out her student teaching at Aylesworth Elementary while she attended Purdue University Northwest. She fell in love with the building, staff members and students while student teaching.
“It was a really good fit for me and my personality. The staff is so accepting and warm and hilarious. We can find light and humor in the darkest times. We stay strong together and help each other through,” she said.
Wring has been with the school for 11 years.
Originally, Wring wanted to teach 2nd grade, but ended up applying for the first position that opened – kindergarten. Aylesworth’s principal at the time, Mary Tracy, helped Kristen to feel welcome.
“I could not have started off with a better principal than her – I absolutely adore her.”
Wring described her teaching style in the best way.
“I feel like I’m kind of eclectic. I do a bit of it all. I still have moments where I do the traditional classroom teaching with lessons and note taking, but I also like to do some student-driven lesson plans because I’m able to let them take the wheel and create their own learning experience while I monitor. It really depends on the subject and my classroom’s ability level,” she said.
Although many educators are using video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, it’s still not the same as being able to interact with students in the physical classroom.
“The quarantine has completely stifled my favorite part of being an educator, which is being hands on, interacting, listening, creating with my students,” she said.
Wring also had the brilliant idea to make a classroom Facebook page a couple of years ago that housed all kinds of pertinent information for parents, like new district learning programs and general classroom updates and reminders. This is also where she posts pictures of her students for their families to see, like pictures from field trips, student projects, and more.
“I’m a very affectionate person so I love the ‘good morning, Mrs. Wrings,’ their smiling faces, and for them to see me and know that I’m here for them. The everyday interaction I really miss.”
At the end of April, Aylesworth Elementary in Portage held a school parade where janitors, teachers and bus drivers, among other school staff, lined up with a police escort through the entire district.
“I was so impressed with the outcome and how many kids came. They made signs and it was awesome seeing their happy faces.”
“Building up their success and confidence every day is such a rewarding characteristic of this position. I am setting up their entire educational experience, especially teaching at the grade level that I do – their love of being at school, their wanting to learn and realizing that it doesn’t have to be boring and tedious. We can make it fun and exciting,” Wring said, her kindness and passion for teaching radiating. “The kids are hilarious – they’re just as honest as can be. They’re forgiving, they’re loving, they’re respectful.”
Quarantine activity tip from Kristen: set aside 30 minutes per day to spend reading with your kid(s)! Even if you’re reading different things, it’s still beneficial to sit with them and enjoy that quality time; plus, you’re setting a great example for them!