Teacher thinks of her son and her students

Looking at military families from a different angle, Shelli Lavinder-Schwalk chemistry and forensics teacher has a middle son named Kristian who is a flight nurse in the military.

He has a high risk job. After having a son in the military, it helps Lavinder to look at things differently when working with students from military backgrounds.  


Lavinder can sympathise with the students fairly well.


“We worry about their safety, and I am very incredibly thankful for the technology we have today,” she said. “He’s always on my mind along with my grandkids. It really helps me think of my military students.”


Lavinder has quite a different outlook on students in military families because her son is deployed and has been deployed twice. It helps her relate a little more to her students. Other than relating to her students in a military aspect, she pushes to teach them more than just chemistry and forensics.


Lavinder tries her hardest to teach them more than just the material; she teaches them life skills, communication and time management.


“I teach skills you have to have to make it and to be successful,” Lavinder said. She also wrote the curriculum for forensics and has had it up and going since 2005, once it was proposed and passed by the district. It’s a different type of class, she added.


“It motivated me because I wanted a class where it taught my students to solve real problems, rather than memorize material.”