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Kinn's gift of teaching helped many individuals in ABE program

Photo by Dana Pavek/WDC Schools Jan Kinn began teaching in the Adult Basic Education program in March 1988, helping individuals of all ages attain their GED. She retired this spring.

When Jan Kinn retired this spring as a teacher for Wadena-Deer Creek School District's Adult Basic Education (ABE) program, she left behind a legacy of learning and enrichment.

ABE colleague Diane Schiller Anderson joined the ABE staff in 2005. She recalled how it took only moments to recognize Kinn's gift for teaching.

"Jan's knowledge of multi-subject matter, her assessment of teaching strategies needed for each student, her compassionate and positive attitude for all, simply radiated," said Schiller Anderson, who considers Kinn not only a gifted teacher, but a friend as well.

Kinn's teaching duties could be described as a bowl of nutritious alphabet soup: she was an ABE/GED/ESL teacher. To spell it out, Kinn helped individuals of all ages prepare for their GED (General Education Developmental), which is a timed mastery test in five subjects: math, literature and the arts, writing skills and essay, science and social studies. Furthermore, if an individual needed help learning English as a Second Language (ESL), she taught the skills needed to pass the U.S. Citizenship Test and the written driver's permit test.

Kinn also taught the basic skill of reading, math and writing as instruction, refresher or prerequisite for entrance into post-secondary education.

What Kinn has thoroughly enjoyed about being an ABE/GED/ESL teacher has been the diversity in her students.

"Every day I worked with students of all ages, abilities and ethnic groups," said Kinn, adding, "This great variety required much individual planning, but reaped great rewards."

Kinn experienced countless moments when a dedicated student achieved success passing their GED, thereby opening a door to new possibilities in their lives; or when a student learned enough English skills to eliminate the fear of trying to communicate basic needs in a new language.

"My life and my teaching have been enriched by these moments and these associations," said Kinn.

Although Kinn will miss her colleagues and students, she is looking forward to retirement so she can spend more time with family and friends, reading, gardening, piano playing, traveling and volunteering.

As Kinn reflected on her 23 years at ABE, she doesn't view her career as work, but rather time spent doing what she truly enjoyed. "Diane [Schiller Anderson] posted this quote in the office: 'Find your passion and you'll never work a day in your life.' So true!"