BELVIDERE (WREX) — Erin Fjelland began her teaching career in Iowa before leaving the classroom for some roles as a consultant.
You can now find her at Seth Whitman Elementary School, where she made her return to teaching three years ago to be more hands on with students once again.
“Consulting was fun, but you kind of lose that connection you have with the kids,” Fjelland said.
“I really enjoy being back in the classroom and having the daily contact with kids and really trying to make a difference for them.”
Fjelland works with kids that have adaptive behavior and communication deficits.
It makes every day a new adventure.
“I just really enjoy the newness of everyday. There is nothing that is the same from one day to another and there’s always a curve ball thrown.”
Not knowing what the next day will bring means a lot of preparation needs to be done.
Fjelland’s hard work helps makes a strong connection with her students, which is well noticed by those teaching alongside her.
“Erin spends a lot of time preparing each lesson separately for each kid and takes the time to get to know each one of them separately,” Seth Whitman paraprofessional Heather Wittig said.
“She takes the time to make sure we know how to do our job so that we can do better for the kids too.”
Once the kids have left for the day. Fjelland is still in the classroom getting ready for tomorrow’s journey.
Her teacher hat stays on even into the night, to talk to parents about how the day went.
“A lot of them don’t get home until later so they might not see a communication notebook until later of what happened during the day so we can send each other a quick message from home,” Fjelland said.
Given her students have communication deficits, it can be difficult for parents to understand their child’s progress.
Fjelland takes pride in being able to not only communicate with the parents, but help them feel closer to their kids.
“We have some amazing families. They really want what’s best for their kids,”
“The more that I can help them understand and show them, the more they feel connected with what’s going on at school.”