Teaching It Forward

NEW ULM – Amber Schaefer, a first-grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School, was nominated for Horace Mann’s Teach It Forward campaign.

Schaefer is one of 25 educators nationwide selected and interviewed for features posted on Horace Mann’s web site.

The educators are selected for “inspiring their classrooms, challenging their students and battling adversity.” Their stories are shared on horacemann.com and Facebook.

Schaefer’s feature can be viewed at www.horacemann.com/en/teacher-lounge/teachitforward/featured-educators.aspx

Schaefer also applied for, and received, funding for a project to benefit her students – a new listening center in her classroom. She received a CD player compatible with a headphone jack she already had, six heavy duty headphones and a number of books on CD.

The project was specifically applied for and funded through DonorsChoose.org, clarifies Schaefer. This web site allows public school teachers to request specific projects and allows millions of donors from around the nation to add to the funding as little as $1 at a time. Horace Mann is one of those donors.

Schaefer’s project was funded because of an organization called Caring Classrooms, Schaefer said.

Through Caring Classrooms, a DonorsChoose.org community, 42 donors donated to make up the $845 that she needed. She shared the Caring Classrooms Community with Don Wendel and his agency, who shared it with teachers in the area with whom they work.

“Mrs. Schaefer has been teaching it forward with DonorsChoose.org,” writes Don Wendel, the local Horace Mann agent. “Since her own project was fully funded …, she has taken it upon herself to share her positive experience with other teachers and encourage them to create their own projects. Mrs. Schaefer shared the community’s information on our Facebook page, and helped get funding for another community’s school. She goes above and beyond to get extra supplies for her students, and she encourages other teachers to create projects. Mrs. Schaefer is looking out for teachers in all communities not just her own,” said Wendel.

Schaefer’s “favorite teaching moment or memory,” as shared on the Horace Mann web site, reads as follows:

“I love seeing the look of wonder and excitement for learning in my students’ faces. Their thirst for knowledge is what gets me up every morning. I am so lucky to be going to a job that I love!”

“My most memorable teaching moments happen daily when students ask questions that advance their knowledge beyond what they thought they were capable of,” said Schaefer. “And, they happen when there is a brief hiccup in our day, and the students all recite that we’re going to, ‘Go with the flow!’ Every moment of every day is memorable,” said Schaefer.

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