WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — Kris Weller has been teaching students in West Michigan for more than three decades.
“I’ve taught for 33 years,” Weller said.
Weller started out in special education in Greenville. A few years later she landed at Kenowa Hills Public Schools. She bounced around to a few different teaching positions before settling down in the second grade.
“I know without a doubt after 33 years that I picked the best profession for me. I’m leaving on a high note. It’s bittersweet but it’s also one of the best jobs in the world. It really isn’t a job, it has to be a passion,” said Weller.
Weller has seen a lot change both in the classroom and the students over the years. Technology has been a major shift in the classroom over the past 33 years. Also, the amount of mental health issues school staff sees in students is significantly increased.
She also said she feels how the job itself is looked at by people in the community has changed.
“I don’t feel teaching is as respected as it used to be as a profession,” Weller said.
As she gets ready to make her exit, Weller is worried there are not enough people becoming teachers. But she had some advice for those that will fill the void she is about to leave behind.
“Understand and know that the number one thing that you will need to do is to make connection and establish relationships with your children because that is what is going to end up helping you be the most effective teacher possible,” said Weller.
After spending more than three decades in the classroom, there are some things she will miss.
“Those connections and relationships that I’ve made with kids. You laugh every day and honestly you can have the best lesson plan in the world but you never know what you are going to get,” Weller said.
“There is a live bug science unit that I will not miss at all,” said Weller.
She has devoted her life to teaching. As she gets ready to leave, she reflects on how even though she was the teacher, she was also always the student.
“When you work with such incredibly supportive, innovative and just intelligent people what you get from them each day is just as important as what you’re giving to your children and what you get from them makes you a better teacher, a better educator,” Weller said.
As for her next chapter, Weller says she is going to start checking things off her extensive bucket list. She is also planning an African safari in the summer 2020.