2013 Retiree: Sue Sieve, elementary teacher, NUACS

NEW ULM – Sue Sieve loves teaching second-graders.

They do some things independently, but yet they still adore school, the St. Anthony Elementary teacher says.

“You (the teacher) still walk on water with them,” she smiles.

Sieve, who has taught second grade at St. Anthony for almost 20 years and at other New Ulm Area Catholic Schools sites for about 22 years, retired at the end of this school year.

Sieve was born in Shakopee and spent her childhood in Chaska, graduating from Guardian Angels High School. These metro suburbs were small towns back then, she says.

She earned a four-year degree in elementary education at Southwest State University in Marshall, graduating in 1972.

At that time, there was a glut of teachers, and she took an internship at a pre-school in Minneapolis, spending three years teaching in an inner-city setting.

Her husband’s career with the state park system took Sieve to a succession of state parks – and allowed the family to share the homes of deer and bears, living in beautiful natural settings. It also led to her to accept teaching assignments in diverse school settings, both public and private, in conjunction with her husband’s job locations. These included Holy Rosary School in North Mankato, Sacred Heart in Waseca, a public school in Marshall and a Title I program in Hinckley.

During this time, the Sieves also had three children, and she spent part of the time at home.

Following her husband’s promotion to the regional DNR office in New Ulm, Sieve spent the balance of her career teaching at NUACS. She taught at St. Mary’s Elementary, Holy Trinity Middle School and St. John’s in Searles, until St. Anthony was built.

Sieve says she never pictured a different career. When she was young, she loved playing school, teaching her dolls and stuffed animals.

“It never occurred to me NOT to do it,” she said. “This was my place. I think I relate fairly well with the kids.”

That makes retirement bitter-sweet; “you keep second-guessing yourself, is this the right time?” she says.

The advent of computer technology has been the most momentous change during her career, she says.

She remembers a computer workshop in Hinckley many years ago, when there was not a single computer in the school. Teachers kept asking themselves, why are we doing this? In contrast, now, so many classroom applications, and all record keeping, are computerized.

Social climate, and in a sense, children, have changed, too, she notes.

“Children are much more verbal, willing to call you out on something, than they used to be. … They are more creative, as well.”

What she will miss the most is the children: “they are delightful, they love you, and they let you know.”

What she will miss the least: the extra meetings, increasing in number during her years of teaching.

Sieve’s retirement plans include: trips to China (where her daughter teaches in an international school); a family reunion in Iceland; a trip to Princeton, N.J., to visit another daughter; and perhaps an African safari.

For a young spirit, there are many adventures ahead.

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