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Reflections from a first-year teacher

Posted 1:49 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Kaylee Olson, a third grade teacher at Eagle Bluff Elementary School in Onalaska, shared some of her favorite moments from her first year teaching.

Kaylee Olson shares highlights and lessons from the classroom

Each year, UWL’s School of Education graduates about 200 new teachers into the workforce. These first-year teachers bring diverse skill sets, fresh perspectives and an infectious enthusiasm wherever the first step in their career takes them. Take a moment to hear from one UWL graduate who got her start in the classroom in 2023-24, and learn how the School of Education helped set her up for success. 


Kaylee Olson 

Teaches: Third grade at Eagle Bluff Elementary School in Onalaska 

UWL degree: Early Adolescence-Middle Childhood Education 

Hometown: Savage, Minnesota 


What are some highlights from your first year as a full-time teacher? 

There are so many highlights that have come with joining the field of education. First and foremost was meeting, connecting and building relationships with my first class of students. I have loved getting to know each of the unique personalities and interests of my students and using my knowledge about them to make learning fun and engaging. I have also enjoyed seeing my students build friendships with each other and have extra fun during class celebrations, after-school activities and field trips.  


What is your favorite subject or unit to teach? Why? 

My favorite subject to teach has been math. I have always loved math, and I enjoy working hard to continue or grow my students’ love of math.  


What inspired you to become a teacher? 

I was inspired to become a teacher by all the amazing educators I have had the privilege of having in my own life. Looking back on my own educational experience, I had some of the most patient, kind and engaging teachers who have inspired me to try my best and be that for my own students. I have seen the impact and difference that a teacher can have on a person's life, and I only hope to inspire, encourage and cheer my own students on.  


How did UWL help prepare you for your career? 

Attending UWL for my undergraduate degree in Early Adolescence to Middle Childhood Education with a minor in math provided many opportunities and experiences that prepared me to join the field of education as a first-year teacher. First off, my professors' continuous support and encouragement. They modeled the importance of building relationships with your students and supporting, encouraging and challenging them. My field and student teaching placements set me up for success as I learned from what I would consider some of the best teachers. My time in a classroom as a field student and student teacher was spent building relationships, planning lessons, differentiating curriculum and beginning to see all the behind-the-scenes work of educators. I had two of my placements at Eagle Bluff, which sparked my interest in staying in the area post-graduation. I enjoyed being an active student through my work as treasurer for Aspiring Educators, over the span of three years, as well as joining the Dean’s Student Advisory Council (DSAC). As a member of DSAC, I was able to gain more experience in communication and collaboration through planning events and working with both my peers and administration. I thank UWL for my education and experiences that helped prepare me to join the field of education. 


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