Few teachers interact with so many students, and with such a wide age range, but for Angie Lester, the opportunity to stretch her horizons at Clear Creek Elementary School is just about a dream come true.
Lester joined the faculty at Clear Creek in the fall and has found herself busy and happy to meet each new day.
A 1998 graduate of Clear Lake High School, Lester earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education, with an emphasis in psychology, from Buena Vista University. But until this fall, her career has been spent in human services, often working with children in real need of a guiding hand.
At Clear Creek, Lester says she was encouraged to come up with her own theme, rather than follow the traditional role of guidance counselor. And that’s how the name of STAR teacher was born.
“We call it STAR, which stands for Skills to Achieve Results,” explains Lester. “We wanted to make it more about skill development, rather than the counseling aspect of it.”
Lester works with all classes, kindergarten through fifth grade, helping them develop life skills for today’s world.
“We work on coping skills, anger management skills, just everyday living skills,” she says.
As an example, Lester notes fourth and fifth graders recently completed a series on learning the harm that can come from rumors and gossip, and how to steer clear of those things. Students in the younger grades have been working on anger management, because even the smallest of children can sometimes have their moments.
The reward, according to Lester, is watching students evolve and become better prepared to handle life’s up and downs.
“I think the positive changes that I see in students is the most rewarding aspect of it,” she says. “We want to help them take negative thoughts and learn how to replace them with more positive thoughts and attitudes.”
She works with all students, and especially enjoys her small group time when she can make a stronger connection with the students.
“When they come in here I want them to have fun and see the benefit of the lessons,” she says.
While it can be challenging to work with such a diverse age group, it also keeps every day new.
“I love it,” Lester says. “I love the variety of classes that I have.”