WDC TEACHERS ARE SUPERHEROES series - MRS. GALLANT
Mandy Gallant ... Kindergarten Teacher
How many years have you been teaching at WDC Elementary?
"This will be my 17th year teaching at WDC. I taught fourth grade my first year and then a combination of Gifted/Talented and Junior Kindergarten the following year. I did Junior Kindergarten for another five years and then had my first Kindergarten class in 2006. This will be my 10th year in Kindergarten."
Why did you want to be a teacher? Anyone influence you?
"I think I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I remember my favorite thing to do when I was a little girl was to play 'school.' I had a desk, a pointer, a chalkboard, lots of books and art supplies - everything I thought a teacher needed! My Kindergarten and second-grade teachers were pretty special, too. I remember Miss Cherney singing and playing the piano and Mrs. Austad instilling a love of reading as well as helping us to develop our creative side through art. All of my teachers from Kindergarten through college have really been an influence in one way or another."
Do you think today's Kindergartners are learning more than, say 15 years ago?
"Things have certainly changed in the past 17 years that I've been teaching. I do feel like Kindergarten today is really the 'first grade of yesterday.' Before I was teaching primarily letters and sounds, and now Kindergartners are expected to be readers early on. I think it is critical that those working with younger students remember to be developmentally appropriate in their teaching. Kids still need to squish playdough to develop their fine motor skills, play games to learn how to take turns and play fair, and just play to learn how to share and get along with one another. With the advancements in technology, now more than ever we need to learn how to socialize and communicate with each other."
What makes WDC a great school?
"I think we have a dedicated and caring staff that take the students' best interest to heart. I've always liked the quote, 'Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.' Personally, I work really hard on establishing those positive relationships early on in the school year. From there we can do anything!"
Tell us a little about yourself?
"I grew up in Thief River Falls, Minn., and graduated from Lincoln High School in 1995. Go Prowlers! In 1999, I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University. In addition I hold both Kindergarten and Early Childhood Licensures. In 2005, I earned my Masters in Education through Southwest Minnesota State University. My husband, Norm, is the Activities Director/Dean of Students at WDC. He also coaches wrestling. We have two children, Grace and Madelyn. Grace is in 6th grade and Madelyn is a 5th grader. Both girls are at the middle school this year. Our girls are our biggest accomplishment and we just love watching them grow and learn. We feel so fortunate that our jobs have allowed us to be in the schools with them as well as freed up time for us to do things in the summer as a family. Life is good!"
Any pastimes or hobbies?
"I do spend a fair amount of time at school, but when I do get some time to myself I like to be with my family. We love to travel and take short road trips. I also enjoy time away with other teachers at scrapbooking retreats."
What makes you laugh?
"My Kindergartners! Did you know kids say the darndest things? I just love my job and the kids I get to work with every day. Their innocence and enthusiasm for life and learning keep me young at heart!"