Jefferson City school kids, teachers back in class

Related Story

JEFFERSON CITY - Alesha Schlueter moved to the other side of the desk Thursday. She began her career as a kindergarten teacher at Belair Elementary School, as the Jefferson City Public School district began classes for the 2014 - 15 school year.

"The main thing is just getting them from that 8:50 bell to that 4 o'clock bell," she said.

Schlueter and her class of 20 spent the morning getting acquainted with their classroom and coloring "First Day of School" pictures to be saved until the end of the year.

"I can't come in here and expect to be the drill sergeant. They're 5 and 6 years old," she said. "I want them to have that movement throughout the day and the breaks. We'll visit the big kid playground that they get to play on and not just the little kindergarten playground."

The district employs roughly 700 teachers who, in 2013, averaged 13 years of experience. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reported in 2013 that 60% of new-hires were first year teachers like Schlueter.

Schlueter said an interesting part about teaching kindergarten is a lot of the parents are first-time parents to school. She said it's a new experience for everyone involved, which brings some anxiety.

"I think I'm most nervous about just being that main responsibility of meeting every students needs that they come through the door needing. It's all me," she said.

Schlueter said completing her student teaching at Belair eased some of her worries. She's looking forward to learning from the other teachers and putting the things she learned in school to use.

For the first time, she's the teacher and not the student. She graduated in May from Westminster College in Fulton. She said there's only so much you can learn about wrangling kiddos in a classroom management book.

"I have a real time job. This is real life. It's me it's only me. I'm supporting my family with this job," she said, adding that she has goals for her students as well as herself for the school year. "I think it's just growing out of my shell a little bit more each and every day," she said.

"I hope every single one of them has a smile on their face," she said.