CAREY — Carey Elementary School welcomes Jen Klopp back to the classroom this fall after a 12-year hiatus.
The Sycamore denizen worked at the elementary school from 1995-2000, but left in the latter year to focus on raising a family. She has been brought back to teach reading and bolster the school’s Title One program, an acquisition Superintendent Mark Vehre relishes.
“We wouldn’t have brought her back if she didn’t do a good job before,” he said. “She’s a heck of a teacher.”
Klopp taught fourth grade science and language arts during her first stint, but has children from kindergarten to third grade under her tutelage this time around. She eased her way back through substitute teaching when her youngest child, Elizabeth, now 4 years old, surpassed infancy. As time passed, a hankering for a full-time return surfaced.
“I missed the interaction with the kids and just seeing when you work with them and they get it and it clicks,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about, to help the kids and just to see them succeed. I really enjoy that.”
Klopp said being a mother has helped her grow as a teacher and seems to have influenced her pedagogy somewhat.
“Whereas before I did not have as realistic expectations for my kids, parenting has enhanced my perspective,” she said. “I now understand that many kids are involved in a lot of activities outside the classroom and some of them do not have as much time to work on assignments.”
Klopp and her husband, Paul, have four kids. Along with Elizabeth, there is Cristopher (12 years old), Catherine (9 years old) and Emily (7 years old), all of whom attend Mohawk schools.
Animals abound at the Klopp residence, where the family harbors two dogs, 20 outdoor cats, hogs, geese, chicken and cattle. “It’s like Happy Acres out there,” said Klopp, who enjoys gardening and participating in many other outdoor activities during spare time.
Kopp received a bachelor’s degree in Education from Bowling Green State University. Before Carey hired her in for the first time in 1995, Klopp made a pit stop at Sacred Heart Elementary and taught fifth and sixth grade Science. She obtained a reading endorsement from Heidelberg University in 1993, a requisite of her new position.
One of Klopp’s crowning achievements as an athlete was winning a Midland Athletic League championship with New Riegel High School as a senior in 1986. She said she now relives her basketball heyday through pickup games with her children and has implemented many of the lessons she learned from sports into the classroom.
“It (basketball) taught me the value of hard work,” she said. “We had to get up early every summer for practice and (when the season came around) eventually you start to see it pay off. I try to incorporate it (what sports have taught her) into teaching: The value of hard work and team work, and building a foundation of having fun.”
By NICK MARLOW