With a kind heart and a no-nonsense style, Rabbit Creek Elementary School kindergarten teacher Li Retus says she encourages her students to be sensible kids that care about their classmates.
KTVA 11’s Teacher of the Week has been teaching in Alaska for more than 30 years. Her career began in the 1980s in King Cove. Whether teaching in the big city or a small village, her goal has been the same.
“I always try to build a caring community,” explained Retus. ”We talk about being part of the community and being responsible, and to give when you can. At this age they’re willing to give lots.”
Building that sense of community is just one part of her efforts. While Retus said she’s obviously required to teach the academic curriculum to her students, focusing on their social growth is a vital part of kindergarten. To her, it’s all about finding that balance.
“I try to take from them what’s important. Like if they’re having little rubs with friendships, we try to work on how we can do better at that, “ explained Retus. “If you have kids that are struggling with skills we try to work on how we can help each other. “