Woman knew she had to be a teacher | PostIndependent.com

Woman knew she had to be a teacher

Mike Vidakovich
Post Independent Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/ Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Even as a teenager growing up in the small town of Nevada, Mo., Ann Meyer knew she wanted to be involved with children and someday become an elementary school teacher. It helped that Meyer lived just one block from the local elementary school and had two younger brothers who she was constantly chasing around and looking after.

“My younger brothers had a big influence on me growing up,” Meyer said. “Our neighborhood was also filled with lots of playmates. I loved being with children. I just always knew that I wanted to be a teacher.”

And teach she did ” for 32 years.

This spring, Meyer was nominated by fellow teachers and chosen by the Roaring Fork School District as the recipient of the 2007-2008 LS Wood Teacher of the Year award. The award is the crowning jewel to a career that started in 1976 as a first-grade teacher in her hometown, and culminated with a memory-filled 22 years teaching first, second, and third grades at Glenwood Springs Elementary.

“It’s truly an honor for me to receive this award,” Meyer said. “In 32 years of teaching there can truly still be surprises. I was totally taken aback at getting this award.”

Meyer is much more at ease talking about the three teachers from Glenwood Elementary who also stepped into retirement with her this spring ” Jamie Darien, Nancy Brown, and Barb Thompson, saying that any one of the three would have been deserving of the recognition and high praise also.

A highlight of Meyer’s career has been being able to teach the primary grades where she feels the building blocks of a child’s education begin to take shape.

“I always liked teaching the primary grades because I liked teaching the basics, especially reading,” said Meyer.

Meyer’s love for books and her belief that reading opens endless avenues for children to become lifelong learners is evident when she talks about the satisfaction she derived from teaching literacy to her class this year.

“I really enjoyed getting to keep my kids for literacy time this year,” Meyer stated. “I think it was beneficial to them and it showed in their test scores.”

Meyer’s reserved persona and quiet way makes it easy to understand why young children would be drawn to her.

Glenwood Elementary assistant principal Ted Donahue had nothing but the highest of praise for Meyer in a letter he read at a recent gathering honoring the school’s retiring teachers.

“Ann’s positive outlook and gentle smile help to bring out the best in children and the adults that work with her,” said Donahue. “Ann takes great satisfaction in seeing children grow. She has left an indelible mark on our community and the ripple it has created will be felt for years to come.”

For someone who has been a teacher for so long, you would think there may be a void in the journey known as retirement for Meyer. She is quick to talk about her husband of 29 years, Clem, who is in recovery from cancer, and their daughter, Hilary, who she hopes to now spend more time with. When asked what else the future holds, Meyer smiles, takes a deep breath and lets you know that things are more than OK in her world.

“I enjoy gardening and I’ll do some traveling,” Meyer said. “I’ll also do some volunteer work and will probably substitute teach some at the school (Glenwood Elementary) next year. I want to keep in touch with the kids.”

Meyer says that she developed a personal philosophy for life many years ago as a child after watching the movie “Pollyanna,” which featured a young actress named Hayley Mills.

“Pollyanna was a young girl who was presented with many difficult challenges in her life, but she always tried to make the best out of each situation,” said Meyer. “Each day I try to make it a great day no matter what situation is presented to me. I have learned that a difficult challenge can be turned into a situation of gratitude.”

The grateful ones would also be the children of the past 32 years who were fortunate enough to have this special lady as their teacher.

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