Lindsey Guenther has taught fourth grade at La Grange Elementary School for the past seven years.
In November Guenther was named as the recipient of the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s Badger Red for Public Ed award, which is given to a teacher in appreciation for his or her dedication to students.
The winners are then treated to a University of Wisconsin athletic event. Guenther attended the Nov. 30 hockey game between the Badgers and Penn State.
Tomah Area School District superintendent Cindy Zahrte said she is proud of Guenther’s recognition. She said Guenther is dedicated to her students’ success.
“She is an outstanding educator at La Grange Elementary. She puts kids first and works very hard to meet their needs,” Zahrte said. “I know parents who have kids in her classroom, and they are grateful for her efforts and those who she works with respect her greatly as well.”
It was gratifying to be recognized, but Guenther said it’s all part of the doing her help and helping students succeed.
“It was nice because I know parents recognize our hard work and everything that we do … but sometimes another pat on the back makes you feel good,” she said.
Guenther is a 2007 graduate of Greenwood High School in Clark County. After high school she attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where she earned a bachelor degree in education in 2011.
Guenther said she decided to pursue education because she wanted to help people.
She originally planned to go into speech therapy but then switched to general education. In high school, Guenther took part in child-based activities and continued participating in those kinds of activities at UW-River Falls, where she discovered education as a different way to interact with children.
What Guenther likes about being an educator is seeing the moment when everything clicks into place for a student.
“I just like seeing the light bulb moment that kids have when they finally are like ‘oh, my gosh, I like this’ or ‘I get it now,’ I like doing that,” she said.
Empathizing with students and creating a mutual respect is what Guenther said helps her connect with students. She said that approach makes students receptive to what she’s trying to teach them.
“I tell them … because I used to struggle in math a lot … don’t worry, I used to be like this, too, I promise it will work, just stick with me,” she said.
She also tries to explain to students why they need to learn the subject matter and tries to be as hands-on as possible by bringing in artifacts and having people from the community come into her classroom and speak with the students.
“I try to really connect (what I’m teaching) to them because otherwise if they don’t realize the purpose in it, then they’re not really going to want to do it,” she said.
In addition to teaching full-time, Guenther also works after school at the Compass Learning Center as a tutor and teaches math and piano in summer school.