What do you do?
Heidi Sale

Where do you work and what is your title?
       I teach fourth- and fifth-graders at the District 11 public Montessori school, Buena Vista Elementary.
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
       I am responsible for the academic growth and development of students in the areas of math, reading, writing, science and social studies, as well as the development of social skills, self-esteem and self confidence. At our school, we use Montessori materials and the philosophy of “follow the child” to accomplish these goals.
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
       I have been a Montessori teacher for 26 years, teaching all ages from 18 months to 12 years old. I have been at Buena Vista for two years.
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
       There is no such thing as quitting time when you are a teacher. I work long hours and weekends, but I love my job. When students realize that they “get it,” it is amazing to be around to see their expressions and feel their pride.
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
       Getting rid of the standardized tests that are used to evaluate students and teachers. They are a small part of what students know and very stressful for teachers. They use these to hold us “accountable!” If a few students have a bad day and don’t test well, should we lose our jobs? No.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
       The bureaucracy – paperwork, meetings, parental needs, grumpy co-workers (not here), how important “happy hour” is!
What makes working on the Westside special?
       I feel like the Westside is a small town in a large community. Everyone knows everyone! The people on the Westside are artsy/talented individuals. It feels comfortable here.

“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.