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Clear Spring teacher rarely finds time for break during her day

January 07, 2002

Clear Spring teacher rarely finds time for break during her day



Editor's Note: The Herald-Mail is featuring one elementary school teacher each month through June. The nine-part series highlights excellent educators on the first Monday of each month. Coming in February: Funkstown Elementary School.

By TARA REILLY
tarar@herald-mail.com


Isabelle Stottlemyer rarely finds the time for a breather as a fourth-grade teacher at Clear Spring Elementary School.

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An educator for 24 years, Stottlemyer says the state and local curriculum demands of an elementary school are great.

"Things are constantly being added, and nothing is ever taken out," Stottlemyer said as she keeps an eye on her classroom door, waiting for her students to return from lunch.

Still, Stottlemyer remains organized and can rattle off her packed daily schedule when asked.

A few minutes later, her class returns and Stottlemyer heads to the door to greet them. The class only stays for a few minutes before it heads to a different room for another subject.

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A new set of students arrives within minutes to learn about weather and the water cycle.

"They still get excited about things," Stottlemyer said, which is why she enjoys teaching young students.

The key to keeping the youngsters interested is to mix up their activities and assign hands-on projects.

"Variety is the spice of life," she said. "They always look forward to experiments. I just try to do different things different ways."

"She just goes above and beyond," Principal Jill Burkhart said. "She's a team player. She's one in a million. She has a positive attitude all the time."

She also said with a small community such as Clear Spring, elementary teachers have the opportunity to watch their students progress through middle and high school.

"We follow the students as they go through," Stottlemyer said. "We see which ones play sports, are on the honor roll, which college they go to. It's a good relationship."

Stottlemyer and her husband, Stan, live in Clear Spring. Her husband is a sixth-grade teacher at Springfield Middle School.

Raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, about seven miles from Salisbury, Md., Stottlemyer said the three most popular careers in that area at the time were nursing, teaching and business.

She said she wasn't interested in nursing or business, so she went to Salisbury State College, where she got her degree.

"It seemed like a good beginning," she said. "It was a good thing to do."

She got her first job teaching fourth grade in Harford County, where she met her husband, a Washington County native.

Isabelle and her husband eventually moved back to Washington County after she taught in Harford County for five years.

She worked at Fountain Rock, Paramount and Boonsboro elementary schools before going to Clear Spring. She has taught in Washington County for 19 years and plans to teach for another four or five.

"They say you just know when it's time to leave," Stottlemyer said.

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