EEC's Cindy Witschen named EMM Teacher of the Month
Teacher Spotlight Profile
Name: Cindy Witschen
Years teaching in Monticello: This is my 38th year teaching Kindergarten in Monticello.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in Bemidji, MN, coming from a large close-knit family. After graduating from Bemidji State University, I taught one year in Fisher, MN, before beginning my teaching career in Monticello. I met my husband here, and Monticello is where we chose to make our home and raise our two children. Tim recently retired from XCEL Energy and enjoys his extra time off. Both Mandy and Michael were fortunate to be students in the Monticello Schools from Kindergarten through 12th Grade, where they were very well prepared to work toward their college degrees. Mandy is now teaching 6th Grade at the Monticello Middle School, and she and her husband Joel are making their home in Monticello. Michael is a Mechanical Engineer, working and living down near Plymouth.
Why did you choose the teaching profession?
I love being around people, and very much enjoy interacting and working with children! I had many wonderful teachers along the way, including family members, who inspired me and challenged me. Also, coming from a large family, my siblings and I played school all the time. In fact, I really dreamed of being a teacher since I was a kindergartner myself!
What is the best thing about teaching in Monticello?
The best thing about teaching in Monticello is the “sense of community”. When I first came to Monticello, I enjoyed the small town feeling that was so evident, whether I was at school, in the grocery store, at a game, etc. Making connections and developing relationships with people and families was so easy and enjoyable. Throughout these last 38 years Monticello has really grown. However, that “sense of community” is still ever present, as it is so fun to continually watch my students and families grow, and I have the opportunity to connect over and over with students and families from the past, present, and future. This happens whether I go to a music concert, school play, sporting event, or perhaps a restaurant where a former student takes my order.
What is your proudest moment as a teacher?
Throughout the years, I have had several moments when I have felt so good. Sometimes this moment is when I have been able to help a student, parent, or family, by giving or teaching them strategies, tools, and/or confidence to work through or overcome a challenge or struggle, whether it be academic, social, or emotional. I have also experienced those proud moments where I have watched my students exit a support program, and continue down a very successful path in their education. It has always been so rewarding to follow my students throughout all of their school years and beyond, and then to see where life takes them.
What advice would you give a young adult who is thinking about a teaching career?
Teaching is a very rewarding profession with opportunities to see success in children many times each day. But, along with the rewards comes the responsibility to strive to make a positive difference in the lives of your students by making connections and working to develop a mutual trust. You need to be a good listener, a cheerleader, a coach, and a confidence builder, while being patient, dedicated, engaging, understanding, and always ready to meet students and families wherever their needs might be.