By Charlene Corson Selbee
Students at Spring Grove Public School were welcomed back this year by three new teachers, Johnathan (Johnny) Sanasinh, Taylor Elton, and Laura Eglinton.
“The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters every day.” Todd Whitaker, American educator, author, and motivational speaker.
Meet Johnathan (Johnny) Sanasinh, the new 4th–8th grades Math Corps Tutor.
While in college, Sanasinh was a Teaching Assistant. He was responsible for helping with in-class discussions and grading assignments for the beginning physics classes.
Sanasinh graduated from Forest City High School and earned his undergraduate degree at St. Olaf College.
While searching for a job that would provide more direct experience between college and getting a teaching license, the opportunity at Spring Grove Public School happened.
Sanasinh described his teaching philosophy. “I think you gotta be kind. And I think that being kind means that you care for the student, but you also support your criticism and let the students know where the boundaries are. You know, we’re all just people. Some students may not have the same privileges that other students have, and you gotta take that into account and make sure that you’re there for them.” Sanasinh goes on to explain, “I think that similar to the idea that time and space are constantly changing, things aren’t static. I want to get my students out of that fixed mindset and let them know that I believe in their ability to change and improve their academic and behavioral skills. Finally, it’s okay to make mistakes.”
How is COVID-19 changing your approach? “I tutor two to three students at a time, so spacing out students is not too much of an issue for my classroom. I have some outdoor students, so I have to take into account travel time in my schedule. Also, I do a combination of prerecorded videos and Zoom meetings for students on Wednesdays. My virtual students have Zoom meetings for a bit every day. Fortunately for me, I feel comfortable in front of a camera, and I’m hoping that my energy will keep students enthused!”
Taylor Elton is the new 7th Grade Life Science, 8th Grade Earth Science, 10th Grade Biology (2nd Semester), and Human Anatomy & Physiology (juniors and seniors).
Elton taught a semester of 7th Grade Civics this past spring. Her position at Spring Grove is Elton’s first job in her content area.
Elton graduated from Spring Grove in 2012 and Luther College in 2016 with a biology degree.
Why do you want to teach at Spring Grove? Elton explained that she accepted the Spring Grove position because “Spring Grove is my home and the place that made me who I am. I wanted to be in a position that allowed me to do what I love and also give back to my community by helping to create and foster a lifelong curiosity about learning to our students.”
“My philosophy is that all students have the capacity for learning and that I, as their teacher, guide, or coach them along their individual learning path. Every student is unique and brings their skillset to the table; it is my job to help them add more skills and tools to their learning toolbox so that they can be good learners throughout their life.”
“It’s my first-year teaching in my content area, so I don’t have a set way of doing things, but it will definitely impact how we can do lab work. I’m also trying to keep most things digital if we have to go to Distance Learning. It’s a weird year, so being flexible with myself and my students is the key to making sure we are okay through all of this!”
The third new teacher at Spring Grove is Laura Eglinton. Eglinton is teaching Special Education and Fundamental Mathematics.
Eglinton is originally from Caledonia, where she graduated high school. Eglinton earned her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Middle School Social Studies from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse.
Before teaching at Spring Grove, she taught at Caledonia Elementary and St. Mary’s School in Caledonia. Last year she was a substitute paraprofessional. Eglinton mentioned that she liked the school atmosphere so much that she accepted that position. This year there was a need for a part-time Special Education teaching position, and she applied because “Teaching students that need a bit extra has always been my passion.”
What is your teaching philosophy? “It is simple. We are here to glean important information and life skills and to use them. I also believe that many people learn in different ways. It is crucial to find the best way for each student, and have a bit of fun while doing it.”
“The Spring Grove School system has put so very many practical health and safety policies in motion this year. We are social distancing, have smaller class sizes and outdoor classes. I feel safe at our school and hope to make the students feel the same. I have utmost, sincere respect for the administration, staff, support staff, one and all who are making this a wonderful environment in which to learn!”
Welcome to the community of Spring Grove, and enjoy your work with our outstanding youth!