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Five Minutes With …

In just her second year of full-time teaching Kim Kappeli is already headed for a change. The fourth- and fifth-grade teacher will give up her spot at the head of a class for a job as the school’s reading coach next year. The change suits her just fine. Kappeli minored in Spanish in college and will work with kids who need extra help reading, which will likely include English-language-learners, she said. Born and raised in Aspen, Kappeli never wanted to live downvalley (she now lives in El Jebel) because she didn’t want to commute back to Aspen for work. Little did she know she would live midvalley and commute up for pleasure (skiing and hiking) and down for work. Kappeli took the long road to teaching. After one year of college she took a 15-year break, with time for recreation, travel, and jobs in retail and hotels. “There has always been an underlying desire,” she said. “But it’s easy to get sidetracked with all the different fun things you can do.”Besides, those experiences that expanded her horizons are now expanding her students’. “The experiences I’ve had along the way really add to what I can bring to the classroom,” she said. “Those jobs, they were just jobs,” she said. “(Teaching) is more of a part of my life.”It’s just more rewarding.”E-mail address: kimkap@rfsd.k12.co.usAge: 39Phone number: 384-5490 (classroom)School, grade and subject: Glenwood Springs Elementary, fourth and fifth grades ESL and literacy Family information: No kids or spouse … yet. Yes, I am related to Victor, Terry and Melody, Heather and Kyle, and all the other Kappelis in the valleyTeaching experience: This is only my second year, but I have settled right in. I have also previously taught preschool and have been working with children in some way all my life.Why are you a teacher? If you worked in another profession before teaching, why did you change? I’m a teacher because I love learning, I love spending time with kids, and I love a challenge. My previous occupations in the service industry (hotels and retail) did not offer these things. Teaching is the most intrinsically rewarding thing anyone can do!What do you like most about teaching? I like the spark I see in children’s eyes when they get a great idea, and I like the smile I see on their faces when they finally understand something that was difficult to learn. I like helping children see the possibilities and gain the confidence they will need to be successful in lifeWhat do you do in your free time? It seems like most of my “free time” in recent years has been occupied with studying. I am currently in a master’s program which takes up much time. Aside from that, my favorite activity is hiking, or sometimes I’ll just find a quiet place by the river to relax. I ski and snowshoe, and I also like doing some “girly” things like gardening, baking and sewing. Of course I like to read, as all teachers must, but fiction is not my favorite genre — I prefer poetry, philosophy, and all forms of non-fiction. What’s your favorite lesson to teach? Shape poems. My English Language Learners get to practice vocabulary and spelling, but they also get the opportunity to be artistic. I like to make copies of their creations before I hand them back, then I can use them to inspire future classes of poets. What was your favorite teacher like? I had several favorite teachers, but they all had some things in common. They all had high expectations and believed in their students’ ability to succeed, they seemed to have a broad view of the world, and they recognized that there is almost always more than one right way to do something.What is something interesting about you that no one else knows? Hmmm … I don’t think there is anything no one knows. Maybe that, aside from spiders, I’m not afraid of much. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be and who would you take with you? Well, there are about a million places I still want to go, and some places I have already been that I would like to share with someone. I would like to take anyone with me who can travel cheaply without whining, someone who can be spontaneous and travel without an itinerary, and most importantly, someone who desires to open their mind to new perspectives without being judgmental. What do you most miss about being a kid? I’m not a kid anymore? I am happy holding on to my childlike idealism. Each Tuesday the Post Independent will feature a teacher from a private school, Roaring Fork School District Re-1, Garfield School District No. 16 or Garfield School District Re-2. Ryan Graff compiles “Five Minutes With.”


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