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Minnesota kindergarten teacher explains why she's refusing to take time off during chemotherapy
via Good Morning America

Anyone who's an educator knows that teaching is about a lot more than a paycheck. "Teaching is not a job, but a way of life, a lens by which I see the world, and I can't imagine a life that did not include the ups and downs of changing and being changed by other people," Amber Chandler writes in Education Week.

So it's no surprise that Kelly Klein, 54, who's taught at Falcon Heights Elementary in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, for the past 32 years still teaches her kindergarten class even as she is being treated for stage-3 ovarian cancer.

Her class is learning remotely due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, so she is able to continue doing what she loves from her computer at M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minnesota, even while undergoing chemotherapy.


"I'm going to make the most of my time," Klein told "Good Morning America." "I don't take anything for granted."

Klein battled cancer five years ago and had to take off about six months due to treatments. But this time, she swore she wouldn't let that happen again. For Klein, teaching gives her the ability to keep her spirits up in a depressing situation.

"Teaching 5-year-olds I always say is like going to Disney World. Everything is exciting and they're so excited about everything that it gets me excited," said Klein. "When you're at chemo and you're around a lot of sick people, it's kind of a depressing place to be. For me, to be around 5-year-olds during that time, it's like a slice of normalcy in an abnormal environment."

Klein told CBS News that her students give her strength. "It's real easy to go down the 'Why me?' — and I think if I didn't have five-year-olds to teach every day, I would spend a lot of time thinking about that," Klein said.

She also hopes that by continuing to teach she can show her students and their families that even with cancer, people can continue to live.

After the mother of two learned she had cancer last summer, she pleaded with her principal Beth Behnke to stay on the job. "Please don't make me take a leave," she told Behnke who was "not surprised because of who she is as a person and what teaching means to her. It's her tapestry."

"She's a very beloved teacher and she deserves it because she's the type of teacher who shows up every year," Behnke said of Klein. "And what she's doing is part of living in our world, just helping kids manage through lots of situational things that don't have to define us but are part of our lived experience."

Receiving a cancer diagnosis has to be completely devastating. But two doctors from Stanford have noticed that one of the most important factors in recovery is maintaining the desire to continue living. "Patients with positive attitudes are better able to cope with disease-related problems and may respond better to therapy," Ernest H. Rosenbaum, M.D. and Isadora R. Rosenbaum, M.A. writes.

Klein's decision to continue teaching may mean a lot more than finding fulfillment in a tough situation, it could prolong her life.

via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

True

Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

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