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Baer: Keep learning yourself. Keep focused on the kids.
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Lakeview Academy teacher Kristi Baer works with students Sophia Lynch and Ben Roth during a science lab. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times

Kristi Baer | Lakeview Academy

The veteran science teacher can’t be stagnant in the classroom.

Actually, she prefers to be outside of it while teaching.

“I think that’s the great thing about teaching science is that it changes all the time — it’s not stagnant at all,” Kristi Baer said. “There’s always new things being learned and discovered. That inquiry makes me motivated to continue that.”

Baer has been teaching since 1987, starting as a third-grade teacher and teaching many subjects at both the elementary and middle school levels.

Her passion for teaching has remained.

“I love explaining things to children,” she said. “I love their excitement — it makes me excited to keep learning with them.”

Why did you choose teaching?

“I had a couple of teachers in my schooling that inspired me to want to be a teacher. Previous to that, I did have a real love of science and nature. I wanted to be a marine biologist up until I was in early high school. Then I decided I would rather be a teacher and teach other kids the sciences.”

Motivation

“I love doing hands-on stuff with the kids. I just enjoy that so much more than reading about it. And I did that as a learner. Those are the teachers that I remember, even through college — not the ones that would assign reading and answer questions — it was ‘let’s go out and figure it out.’ And that’s what I like and that’s what turns me on as far as teaching and learning.”

Most memorable teaching moment

“When we go out, or we’re out on a field trip, and I see the kid bringing it together, like ‘Oh, the honeybee is the state insect, and here’s a honeybee right here on this farm, and this is how it works and this is how you extract the honey.’ We’ve been very lucky to have those kinds of resources.”

Advice for other teachers

“Keep learning yourself. Keep focused on the kids. Focus on their excitement for learning and how they can feed you in that excitement and learning. You have to meet the kids where they are when they come into the classroom. ... Kind of forget what’s out there and concentrate on this, and let’s have 30 minutes or an hour of learning together. Finding that potential in the kids and taking them where they need to go.”

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