Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Graslie


Paige Schneider, Staff Reporter

What inspired you to become a teacher?

I grew up in family of educators and I had loved school when I was a student and a child, so I thought that is gonna one career that everyday is new and has new opportunities and experiences, cause I know some of the opportunities and experiences I gave my teachers. I just thought it would be fun and then I wanted to coach.

Back when we grew up all coaches were like teachers, they didn’t have coaches from outside the school system. So, if I wanted to coach different sports I knew I’d also have to be an educator to be able to have that opportunity.

What did you coach?

While being here in Gering I’ve coached junior high track (shot and disc), and 8th grade volleyball for at least 35 years. I have coached basketball from 7th grade on up to JV coach.

What was your favorite sport to coach?

I really love coaching 8th grade volleyball, but basketball is where my passion lies because I grew up with a father that coached basketball and brothers that played it. I really enjoyed coaching the 8th grade level more than anything else.

How long have you been teaching?

At the end of this year it will be 40 and a half years, and they are all here in Gering, split between the Junior High and the High School.

Do you enjoy your job?

I love it. I really do. It’s a great job. I think it keeps you young and mentally sharp. It’s fun to watch students grow not only academically but also personally and socially. I don’t have the personality to be at a job where you do the same thing every day or your always going to have the same experiences. What I like about teaching is that everyday is a new experience.

If you could give the student body one lesson, what would it be?

Live in the moment. Enjoy those that are around you and enjoy your educational opportunities. I just think that we don’t look at school the right way. We don’t look at it as an opportunity to meet new people or to experience different things. School helps you build character and learn how to deal with defeats and overcome obstacles. We don’t really realize that all these things that are happening in school create the person who we are. Too many think of it as just something they have to do because a judge said they had to be here until they were 18.

How would you improve the school system?

I would like there to be more hands-on classes offered, so we could finally reach the students that have a hard time learning from lectures and practicing problems and things like that. I want there to be more integration with math classes and other classes, like geometry and construction type classes.

Why do you like your chalkboards so much?

The first time I had white boards the markers had a horrible horrible odor to them. You know how much writing I do, so imagine me writing a lot on a whiteboard. I hated the smell and I got headaches a lot. The whiteboard wasn’t really ever clean, either, especially if you used red. Then it was a pink board, no matter what you use to clean it. I just like chalk a lot better because you know I erase it with my hands and I love to write with it. Besides, I grew up with chalkboards.

Why did you decide to become a math teacher?

At the beginning I wanted to be a P.E. teacher, but after my sophomore year in college when I went home to work at the swimming pool my dad sat me down and said, ‘physical education teachers are a dime a dozen. You need to pick up another area to make yourself marketable.’ I always enjoyed math in highschool, I wasn’t a scholar, but I enjoyed it. It was fun to do in my eyes, so I decided, ‘Well, I’ll pick up a math major.’

Did you ever end up teaching P.E.?

I graduated in December which means I was looking for a job in January, and the only teaching jobs available were math related. There wasn’t a physical education one around. That’s where I got hired at Gering Jr. High, in 1979. But I still really wanted to teach phys ed. So I went and did an interview in Evanston Wyoming, because they had a physical education job going to be open the next year. When I came back to Gering, the principal called me in said, ‘I didn’t think you were unhappy.’ and I said, ‘I’m really not unhappy, I’m enjoying it here, but I want to teach phys ed and I want to coach.’ So the next year I had half a day of phys ed, half a day of math, and 3 sports to coach. At the end of that year I walked into his office and said, ‘Don’t you ever put me in the gym again.’ I hated every minute of it!

Out of all of your years teaching what was your most memorable moment?

When I was teaching Algebra 1, to the ninth graders, I always made them justify each step with a property. All of my kids were up at my chalk boards, and every step they did they had to justify. And, of course, there’s the associative property. And kids being kids they wouldn’t spell it all the way out. So they abbreviated it to you know what. Well, all of the sudden, the superintendent walks into my room and I turn to look and see him walk in, so I look at the board and all I see is… Ass. Ass. Ass. Ass. He called me out into the hall, and he goes, ‘Hey, Kim, I really like what your doing, I like that your making the kids justify each step with a property, but you need to have them abbreviate associative with five letters.