OTA teacher prepares children to be 'world players'
With a family of educators, teaching was a given for Nancy Blaesing. Her father has a doctorate degree in education, and she is the youngest of five children, four of which are also teachers.
"It's kind of a family deal," she joked. "I wanted to be a surgeon when I was little, but my dad told me I'd never have a family life, and I wanted to have kids."
So she went to college at University of California San Diego, where she got her bachelor's degrees in communications and multi-cultural education and a master's degree in cross-cultural teaching.
Now, Blaesing is constantly surrounded by children — in her kindergarten class at Oregon Trail Academy as well as at home.
"My passion is reading and writing, and I love to watch mathematicians bloom," Blaesing said. "Right now they're at the peak of their bloom. They're exhibiting traits of learners as opposed to just small children."
She started at the charter school after spending two years teaching in the United Arab Emirates.
"There were no jobs and the economy was not teacher-friendly," she said of her choice to take a job abroad with the Teach Away program. "But, it was amazing."
Working in the UAE was Blaesing's first experience in the Middle East, though she considers herself a world traveler. From that experience she said she came back to the states a better teacher.
"It's a country of entitlement," she explained. In the UAE, Blaesing taught a class of 52 young men. "It's really difficult. They have money so they think they don't need to go to school. After working in that kind of work environment, I could be a successful classroom manager anywhere."
Now, at Oregon Trail Academy, Blaesing said she is "setting (my students) up to be world players," and she is happy to have "appreciation from parents and kids."
"Coming back to the states was a breath of fresh air," she noted. "Here we have parents who care and work to make the best for their kids."
When she's not teaching, Blaesing loves to ski, cook, spend time with family, and of course, travel. She regularly takes her kids and their friends on mini field trips.
The part of teaching that remains challenging for her is "detaching myself emotionally."
"My emotional tie to the kids is my superpower, but naturally, that has its pros and cons," she explained. "(The rewarding part) is watching the kids grow and bloom. The day they read something they couldn't a week ago is the best part of my life."