July Top Notch Teacher

Published On: Jul 03 2012 08:47:24 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 03 2012 08:46:43 AM CDT

VIROQUA, Wis. -- News 8 hears this a lot from educators selected for Top Notch Teacher: "I'm not any different than any other other hard-working teacher."

After a quarter-century in the classroom, July's honoree is no different.

Viroqua Elementary School second grade teacher Debra Stafslien doesn't know why she is being named a Top Notch Teacher, but her students do.

"Sometimes she plays games with us," says Vanessa Lohr. "And she makes up these funny songs."

While her students may think her teaching style is all fun and games, Ms. Stafslien is using these techniques to make sure she connects with each child.

She says figuring out how to teach all of the different learners in her class is one of the best parts of working with the students.

"Learning their individual needs - and they all have their own little ways of learning - and giving them that individual attention...I think that's something that's really special when you're teaching," Stafslien says.

And that's how Stafslien's students feel about her.

"Ms. Stasflien is a fun teacher," Vanessa says.

Stafslien retired at the end of the 2011-2012 school year after 25 years. She is the oldest of nine children, so becoming a teacher felt like a natural transition for her.