Leslye Thiery says growing up in small town North Dakota (Ashley) she’s felt her whole life has been geared toward being a teacher. Her father was a science teacher in New Rockford and her grandmother was also a teacher. She says those influences along with compassion for others made her journey to the classroom almost preordained.
Thiery says her philosophy in education has never wavered. It’s always been about the whole child and helping them feel included, balanced, valued and loved.
Her path to an innovative approach in the classroom came from her first job in education. After graduating from Valley City State in the ’90s, Theiry says she had to wait a few years to get a job in Ashley where her husband owned a business. She says she got a job directing preschool and she says there was a lot of playing, experimenting, questioning and environment of curiosity. That stayed with her.
In this episode of The Cutting Ed podcast, Thiery says when she took a job teaching second grade she was handed manuals to teach, noticed students in desks in straight rows and also a lot of disengagement — a far cry from her days in preschool — but says she went along with it because she thought that’s what she was supposed to do. Since then, she’s sought out ways to think outside the box, try new things, remain curious and put kids first.
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