School Extra by Bob Zimmerman


Flashback to September, 1958. My family had moved during summer and I was about to enter the fifth grade at a school I had never been in with people I had never met. I knew my way around my old school in Wasioja pretty well since there was only one classroom for the first four grades. I knew all three of my classmates and was friends with each of them; I really liked the one teacher I had learned from in grades one through four. My new school at Byron, which is eight miles west of Rochester, was the biggest building I had ever been inside in my life, and had two separate rooms for the 42 fifth grade students alone. I remember making new friends, getting polio shots, and trying hard not to get into trouble with my teacher, Miss. Wilhelmson, who tolerated very little goofing off. The rest is a blur, but I did manage to get promoted to the sixth grade at the end of the school year. Maple Lake Elementary has two rooms for the fifth grade, with Mrs. Amy Kosloski and Mr. Marty Kiebel teaching 53 students in the class. Both teachers enjoy their students, who are at a fun age that allows joking around a bit, and fostering good connections. Mr. Kiebel commented that fifth grade is a “teeter-totter grade,” and explained that both the good academic habits students develop and less effective ones tend to continue in the higher grades. He talked about helping his students get more comfortable with math concepts and helping them change attitudes from “this is too hard” to “I can do this after all.” Fifth grade is the year that students can start band, and Mr. Kiebel encourages all of his students to give it a try. What will his students remember about the fifth grade? Perhaps their teacher juggling in class and the quality of their relationship with him; some will also remember that he was a pretty good volleyball coach.

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