When Tera Saaristo, at Mill Creek Elementary in Madison, and her first graders found out she was the Valley’s Top Teacher, there was a lot of hugging and even a couple tears.
“They are so sweet and they are so loving,” says Tera Saaristo, the Valley’s Top Teacher. “I just love it.”
Her kids lover her right back.
“She’s awesome,” smiles Rylan Aungst, a first grade student.
“Super nice,” says Zoey Ramos, another first grader.
Mrs. Saaristo creates an atmosphere that is fun and comfortable because she wants her kids to love learning at an early age.
“We need to care as much for their emotional and character growth as much as we do, can they pass a test,” explains Mrs. Saaristo.
“We make sure to hug her and she realy loves us, because she is our teacher,” says Zoey Ramos with a big smile.
Not only does she care for her students in the classroom, she makes an effort to be a part of her kids lives outside of school too.
“At the begining of the year I sent sort of a reverse invitation home with the students,” shares Mrs. Sarristo. “It was asking them to give me an invitation to a dance recital or a ball game.”
Kids get really excited when their teacher shows up to support them at a performance.
“One of my Christmas effects at my church,” says Rylan about his event that Mrs. Saaristo attended.
Mrs. Saaristo truly goes above and beyond. At Christmas she even works with Santa to get each of them a gift off of their Christmas list. They also get to do some other fun things around Christmas.
“We got toilet paper, sticks, a carrot nose, eyes, and a hat to put on Mrs. Saaristo,” laughs Zoey. “We covered her in toilet paper so we could make her a real life snowman.”
Mrs. Saaristo’s goal is to impact the future by instiling confidence in them so that they can go into the world and succeed.
“The best way to do that is to show every child that they are loved, that they are cared for, that they matter, and that they really can be anything that they want,” says Tera Saaristo.
If you would like to nominate someone ot be the “Valley’s Top Teacher” just click here.