Mr. Hemmerle goes to Kindergarten

The Wilton Education Foundation took part in the Educator for a Day event occurring in school districts throughout Connecticut from Jan. 27 to 31 and invited state Rep. Gail Lavielle, Sen. Toni Boucher and Board of Education members to participate.

Board of Education member Glenn Hemmerle was among those who accepted the invitation, and on Wednesday, Jan. 29, he went to Miller-Driscoll to help teach Robyn Reeves’ kindergarten class and get a firsthand experience of school activities.

“Mr. Hemmerle stayed with us all day and participated in everything we did,” said Ms. Reeves.

“My class loves visitors and they embraced Mr. Hemmerle immediately.”

Ms. Reeves said Mr. Hemmerle did a math lesson with the children, helped make paper bears in the art center and helped the children with an activity that involved sorting capital letters by curved lines, straight lines or both within a Venn diagram.

Mr. Hemmerle even ate lunch with the kindergartners in the cafeteria.

“He ate the same lunch as me,” said Aleissa, a kindergartner in Ms. Reeves’ class.

“I liked when he sat next to me at lunch,” said Anya, another one of Ms. Reeves’ students. “He talked about his family.”

Mr. Hemmerle also read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to the class — a story he read to his children when they were young.

“I liked when he read to us,” said kindergartner Ava Rose. “I love the story Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I have a movie of it.”

“Mr. Hemmerle is a pro. He jumped right in, and his interaction with the children was wonderful,” Ms. Reeves said, adding that her class really enjoyed spending the day with Mr. Hemmerle.

“I got a lot of ‘Mr. Hemmerle is really nice’ and ‘That was fun reading with Mr. Hemmerle,’” she said.

Mr. Hemmerle said he was in awe of the kindergartners’ wide range of abilities.

“It was an absolutely wonderful and inspiring experience,” he said. “I was amazed at how well-behaved, attentive and responsive they were. ”

Mr. Hemmerle said he was also impressed with Ms. Reeves’ calm and pleasant demeanor and well-planned activities and lessons.

“They were very busy with different activities, but they moved so seamlessly from activity to activity,” he said.

Ms. Reeves said it was nice to have a Board of Education member see what a day in elementary school is like.

“They don’t really get a chance to see things in action and behind the scenes,” she said.

“It was wonderful to have a new pair of eyes come in and see what goes on within my room.”

Mr. Hemmerle said spending the day with Ms. Reeves’ class opened his eyes to the challenges teachers face.

“Nothing is easy about being a teacher. It’s rewarding, but nothing is easy,” he said.

“Finding lessons and activities that meet every kid’s needs — that’s hard work.”

Mr. Hemmerle said it was his first time monitoring and engaging with a kindergarten class at that level.

“I’d like to do this with higher grades to see the different levels of development,” he said.

“It was a great experience and I would definitely do it again.”