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View From Vis: Meet First Grade Teacher Ann Marie Zeimetz

Ann Marie Zeimetz teaches first grade at Visitation. Mrs Z. has her B.A. from St. Mary's University and her Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota. She also holds a K-12 reading license and is an adjunct professor at St. Mary's. She is currently enrolled at the University of St. Thomas, working toward her Educational Specialist degree.

1) How long have you been teaching at Vis, and what is your favorite part of your job? 

I have been blessed to be at Visitation as a first grade teacher for 14 years. I love my job! Who wouldn’t love to come to work every day and be surrounded by curious, inquisitive, and loving children? I truly have the best job ever!  

My favorite part of the day is...umm, morning message, language arts, reading, STEM, math, Daily 5, prayer time… ok, wait, I truly love my whole day! I always explain to my family and  friends that my first grade job is like being surrounded by your favorite people all day long. True story! Who wouldn’t love it? 

2) What drew you to teach first grade?

When I was in college, I thought that I wanted to be a fourth or fifth grade teacher. As time progressed, I had a field experience class in a first grade classroom, and it was then and there that I knew that I wanted to teach first grade. First grade is typically a year where developmentally fluent reading takes place! I love teaching my students the gift of reading. I love to help and encourage my students to love everything about reading. The phonics, the comprehension, the spelling, the plot, the characters, EVERYTHING! When I think of all that happens during the first grade year, from learning to read to being more independent learners, I feel beyond blessed to be part of my first graders’ learning journey!  Plus, have you ever met a first grader? A first grader looks at life with such positivity and enthusiasm, I knew I needed to be with first graders daily! Best. Grade. Ever!

3) How does Salesian Spirituality inform your curriculum?

I demonstrate Salesian Spirituality daily through my words and actions as a teacher. My favorite virtue is joyful optimism. In every level and subject of first grade, my goal as a teacher is to be able to infuse Salesian Spirituality in all that I teach. It’s important when I start a first grade lesson in any subject for me to demonstrate to my students the understanding that the Salesian virtues are a part of absolutely everything we do! 

4) Lightning Round: What is your favorite…

Activity to do in your spare time?
Reading, kayaking, kickboxing, and spending time with my “boys”--my yellow lab Teddy, and my husband, Scott!

Part of the day?
Early, early, early morning! There is such a beauty and calmness in the early mornings! I love to be surrounded with peace and prayer before each day begins. 

Mission to support?
My favorite mission to support is Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue. My yellow lab, Teddy, is a rescue from Coco Heart Rescue, so we volunteer for the organization frequently. My favorite volunteer activity is to read to children at specific dog adoption events. Teddy loves it, too! I love all dog rescues and believe in giving all animals a fair chance! 

Food to cook/bake?
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES are my favorite food in the whole world!! I actually don’t like to bake or cook much, but when others cook for me, that makes me very happy (especially when someone bakes me chocolate chip cookies).

Book to read aloud to your students?
My favorite books to read to my first graders are:

  1. Emma Kate by Patricia Polacco
  2. The Tub People by Michael Chiviendacz
  3. Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry

What three objects would you take to a deserted island?
Lipstick, a bag of books, and coffee.