July Top Notch Teacher: Nancy Wettstein-Weaver
LA CROSSE, Wis. — Before Nancy Wettstein-Weaver’s first-graders even get into the classroom to begin the day, they are greeted with a smile, a hug or a high five.
“When they walk in the door every day, I want them to feel special, and they all come with unique strengths and needs,” Wettstein-Weaver said. “I just want them to find a passion in learning and I try to do that every day.”
“She gives us a hug and we go in the classroom,” first-grader Beckett Allert said.
In Wettstein-Weaver’s 11 years at Emerson Elementary, she’s tried her best to make her students feel welcome.
“I’m trying to establish relationships with them, because if you don’t establish meaningful relationships with children, I don’t think true learning can really occur,” she said.
She says if she wants her students to go above and beyond, she must do the same for them.
“If they tell me that they have karate meet on Saturday, I’ll go to the karate meet, if they have a birthday party they want me to come to, I’ll do that as well,” Wettstein-Weaver said. “I truly think that they need to know that they’re cared about and loved when they walk in the door inside and outside.”
The feelings of adoration are mutual in this first grade classroom. The fun and playful lessons could be the foundation for her classroom success.
“I always say I have two families, I have my families at home and I have my first grade family here,” Wettstein-Weaver said.
And if there’s one thing her first grade family agrees on, it’s this about her character.
“She’s really nice,” Danika Parnell said.
Well, she’s really nice for one,” Izzy Thomsen said.
“She’s very nice,” said Allert.
“I was meant to do this,” Wettstein-Weaver said.
Wettstein-Weaver didn’t set out to be a teacher right away. She was in a nursing program in college to be a pediatric nurse, but found that teaching is where her passion lies. She hopes she can help her students find their passions, as well.