RIVER FALLS -- Michele Klecker-Sailor has spent more than 20 years in education, and has racked up many a tale to tell.
She has compiled the ones that have stuck with her, in her new book “Sub Notes: Finding Humor, Love and Appreciation In Our Classrooms.”
“All the stories have made me laugh, made me cry, or just sigh,” she said.
Klecker-Sailor has been a pre-K teacher since 1998, and has been subbing various grade levels and in special education during that time as well.
“So a lot of stories to choose from there,” she said.
She tells about the time she ended up needing help from a student during a Kindle instruction lesson, and middle school assignment that had a student asking her how to spell “Phd.” There’s also the time a kindergarten student threw out a note made to remind him of his lunch number, because he knew it at the time, and the time when a student asked if patience was an app.
“My biggest tool to have as a sub is a sense of humor,’ Klecker-Sailor said. “You have to have a sense of humor.”
She also knows she’s been the source of many such stories herself when she was a student. She remembers, while in kindergarten, writing a letter to a teacher telling him he was cute.
With “Sub Notes,” Klecker-Sailor said she hopes to remind people that even in times of stress, like now, they can find humor, love and appreciation in those around them.
“I really wanted to write it to encourage people, teachers and those who work with children and those who have children, to appreciate young people and kids around us,” she said.
The book includes note pages for teachers or those who work with children to write down their own stories.
The stories don’t include any identification of students, schools or districts.
Klecker-Sailor attended school in the River Falls district. After graduation she majored in marketing and advertising, but always wanted to get into education.
“I always wanted to get in and help kids,” she said.
She enjoys planning lesson and being creative with her work.
“I love to have kids have fun when they don’t even know they're learning,” she said.
Writing was also something she’d wanted to do for years. She was first inspired in third grade, when she and her classmates wrote letters to their teacher who was out sick. When the teacher returned to class, she told Klecker-Sailor the letter had made her cry.
“I thought right then that I have the power to put words to paper and evoke emotion, that’s what I wanted,” she said.
Klecker-Sailor wrote her first book, the children’s book “The Patient Leaf,” in 2009. She’s also written “Max,” “Max and the Junkyard Dog Meet a Rascal,” and “Perfectly Plaid,” all children’s books as well.
Her writing process is a fast one. Her mind may be processing an idea or a while, but once she knows what she wants it all comes out.
“I just kind of get hit with inspiration and it’s pretty quick,” she said.
“Sub Notes” will be available June 1 at Freeman’s or on the Sub Notes by Michele Klecker-Sailor Facebook page. For the first month, 10% of proceeds will be donated to the River Falls Sunshine Fund.