Michael Helgesen is a wordsmith who has been teaching for more than a dozen years. He grew up telling stories and whether it’s in German or English, it’s a talent he’s passing on to his kindergarten students at Rilke Schule German School of Arts and Sciences.


“It’s the last year that the brain is growing,” Helgesen said. “There is a wonderful elasticity of mind that the children have that is just so much fun to be around.”


Having fun with his students is a big part of his teaching and personality. Helgesen has perfected his character voices while reading aloud to his classroom, and uses his creativity to help teach his students. At the beginning of the school year Helgesen says his students know only a few letters and numbers, but by the end of the year they can add, subtract and even read out loud in their own character voices.


Helgesen has been teaching in the Anchorage School District since 1992. Before that, he worked at the Providence Hospital Early Childhood Learning Center and taught in South-Central Los Angeles, according to the school’s website.


“You’ve got to give your best every day,” Helgesen said. “It’s like a sporting event; some days you’re right on your game and the kids do really well, other days you can improve. There’s always room for improvement every year, every day.”


Rilke Schule currently shares a space in their South Anchorage location. The school recently received a {?bodytext}lt;a href="http://www.ktva.com/anchorage-school-board-considers-new-charter-loan-proposal-856/">2 million advance to build a school in the near future.