MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — For 43 years, Steven Beilke has brought his great sense of humor and admirable drive to his classroom, which is one of the many reasons why this fifth-grade teacher is this month’s Golden Apple award recipient.
Beilke has been a mentor and a guide for students for more than four decades, which is only demonstrated by the way his students look up to him.
“He is a lot of fun to be with. He is funny and he teaches you really good life skills,” Alexis DeVos said.
Beilke is a fifth-grade teacher at Mount Olive Lutheran School in Mankato.
His teaching strategy is very structured and based around preparing students for the next big step of the sixth grade.
“Writing down their assignments that they get used to doing their assignments on their own. Not having to worry about whether they have someone to constantly hold them by their hand,” Beilke said when describing his role in preparing students for the transition.
In class, Beilke works to instill a sense of responsibility in his students, something parents notice.
“So, when you come to your desk, this is your space and this is your office. That is pervasive in everything that Mr. Beikle has done. What we have really seen in our son is how he has grown in that responsibility,” commented Ted Manthe, who has a child currently in Beilke’s class.
Beilke also stresses the importance of mental health.
“He does things throughout the school year to really assist with their self-esteem in the classroom. If they did really great on a project or got an A+ on a quiz, he will often send home personalized notes,” added Cristen Manthe.
Overall, he is just happy to be teaching students lifelong skills to add to a toolkit for their lives.
“And some kid will remember, you know, and wow. I am very pleased that at least something is sticking with them,” Beikle said.