SOUTH BELOIT (WREX) – A kindergarten teacher at Clark Elementary School in South Beloit has been making a mark on her students, and fellow teachers, for almost two decades.
Karissa Dooley has been at Clark Elementary for 19 years, and the other two kindergarten teachers at the school say Dooley actually taught them how to teach kindergartners.
“She taught me everything from curriculum to how to talk to someone that young. The kids we deal with are so small, and sometimes they’re hard to relate to and she does a flawless job every time,” Kindergarten Teacher Jessica Dobson said.
Not only is Dooley a mentor to her coworkers, but she is adored by her students, past and present.
“Every kid that she’s had, even in previous years will walk down the hall and every single one of them will always say ‘good morning’ to Mrs. Dooley or ‘have a good afternoon’ to her,” Kindergarten Teacher Amanda Roccia said. “So, her teaching isn’t just in her classroom, it extends throughout their whole school career.”
Dooley said she had difficulties as a child in school, so her favorite part about teaching is getting to help her students learn to work through tough times.
“I struggled in school, and so being able to help the kids get that base, and learn to read, and learn to do their best, and learn to keep trying. I said, that’s the main reason why I’m here,” Dooley said.
She said the most important thing for kindergartners to learn is reading, and she said it is extremely important for parents to read to their children every single night. Dooley said parents should read to kids, and the kids should read to their parents, throughout their entire childhood.
Once a child learns to read, the opportunities are endless.
“I always tell me kids, once you learn how to read you can read books about anything,” Dooley said. “You can read books about spaceships if you want to go to space, you can read books about ballerinas, castles, whatever you want.”