NEW ULM, Minn. (KEYC) — The teaching career of Laura Balza has really come full circle.
A Michigan native, Balza traveled west to Martin Luther College for post education.
After years of teaching in Wisconsin, she came back to New Ulm, ultimately ending up at St. Paul's Lutheran Elementary School, the same building where she student taught.
“I love being able to teach the kids obviously about God’s word as that is why we are here. Also having the connection with our congregations,” Balza said.
Balza says she didn't always know what she wanted to do for a living.
But with the right guidance in college she says she was bound to be an educator of young children.
“I think it’s a neat age because they are getting a good grasp on reading, they still usually really like school and are excited to learn. The doors are open for them once that reading piece comes and everything builds off of that,” Balza added.
In the classroom, there are plenty of smiles to go around.
One of Mrs. Balza's favorite parts of teaching is establishing a connection with her students so they are ready to learn and comfortable with communication.
“I find it really important to get to know the children especially the social part of it and trying to meet all their needs which is a challenge,” Balza continued.
The foundation of that connection extends beyond the classroom and before school even starts.
“We actually go and visit all our homes of our students in the summer before we have them in class. We get to know them a little bit. They write about it, they tell us about it and they are open with what they like so we just try to tuck that away and use that to help build,” concluded Balza.
And, as many families in New Ulm know, once you have been one of Mrs. Balza's kids, you're always one of Mrs. Balza's kids.