ALDER – School board members and staff from the Alder School District held and open house Thursday evening for community members to meet and greet two new teachers who are coming to the school this fall.
Teresa Murdoch has more than 20 years’ experience teaching at rural schools in both Wisdom and Jackson. While a small school house like the one in Alder is certainly nothing new to Murdoch, she’s just as excited to start teaching third through sixth grades here as the kindergartners who are anxiously looking forward to starting their first day of school.
“It’s a challenge to work with so many different grade levels and to set up all the different lesson plans for all the different kids, but it’s a fun challenge,” Murdoch said.
First-year teacher Jamie Janosko of Anaconda will be teaching kindergarten through second grades, and she too is looking forward to starting school in Alder at the end of the summer.
“I’ve always been more small-school centered, so I’m excited to really get my feet wet here,” Janosko said.
This summer Janosko is working at Anaconda Job Corps, a free vocational tech training program that teaches young people age 16 to 24 “the skills they need to become employable and independent and placing them in meaningful jobs or further education” according to the school’s website.
District clerk Lisa Morgan said that the school is looking forward to having the new faces in the classroom this fall.
“With Teresa Murdoch I think were getting wonderful experience in a rural school,” Morgan said, adding, “She’ll be a great leader.”
“She’s been in the supervising / teaching position before, so I think she will even help our board to take our direction and become a better school.”
And as for Janosko, the enthusiasm is apparently contagious.
“It’s very easy to see how excited she is,” Morgan said. “She’s very passionate about teaching and being around kids.”
While Janosko jokes that her goal for her first year leading a classroom is just to survive, her sense of humor doesn’t interfere with her focus on the significance of the early stages of a child’s formal education.
“Making sure the students are above where they need to be, getting to know them and making sure they are having fun while learning,” she said, emphasizing how important it is for kids to like school.
“Especially at the kindergarten grade, because that’s where it all starts.”