by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Despite retiring last May, longtime Central Elementary teacher Carol Schneider hasn’t completely given up teaching.
Among her many activities after her 32-year career is subbing twice a month at Central Elementary, but she also reads, spends time with her family and volunteers her time.
A native of St. James, Schneider, 57, taught for two years before getting the job in NYA in 1981.
At Central Elementary, she taught fourth, fifth and sixth grades and also was an assistant girls’ basketball coach for several years.
She first got interested in teaching because of her love of kids and her sisters. Her older sister, Susanne, taught various grades at Waconia and her younger sister, Jane, is a primary teacher in Ortonville.
“Susanne used to work in the Head Start program when she was in college and I got to go and help her out,” she said. “That’s where I got this love of working with kids.”
All graduates of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., the sisters have plenty of stories to share of both life as students and teaching.
Schneider’s favorite subject to teach was social studies and she reflects fondly on teaching young kids that were eager to learn.
“You can laugh with them and joke with them and they’ll understand the joke,” she said.
Among her highlights of her time at Central was taking part in the community summer recreation program and taking fifth- and sixth-graders to the Environment Learning Center, now Wolf Ridge, in the mid 1980s.
“That really was a special time with the kids,” she said. “We were there the whole week with them and when you’re with them 24/7 it’s a little different.”
Maintaining a focus on nature and science without technology, something which contributed to her retirement decision, gave Schneider and students a chance to escape during the school year.
Now it is Schneider who can escape a bit in her retirement, enjoying time outside and in nature.
Schneider added retirement gives her more time with her family, including husband, Mark, and dog, Buster, and her two stepdaughters, Jamie and Traci.
She also has made several trips to Arizona to visit her parents, Richard and Bonnie in Arizona, she has maintained her interest in reading which developed from her mom, now 90.
“We always had a lot of books to read,” said Schneider. “We were constantly sharing books with people.”
She also spends time with fellow retired teachers in an area group that meets regularly to play games, eat lunch and volunteer time to help out the community including Moms in Carver County and Feed my Starving Children.
There are other times when she can simply enjoy the day.
“It’s nice,” she said. “I can have my cup of coffee when I want. I don’t have to go anywhere if I don’t want to.”
Contact Adam Gruenewald at firstname.lastname@example.org.