By Katy Granath Posted December 17, 2008
She has been a teacher at Sonoma Heights Elementary School for 16 years, and prior to that, she spent three years teaching early childhood at the Department of Human Services.
Janhunen loves to teach and doesn’t know what she would do without it; some of her best memories involve watching kids learn.
“In the first grade, it seems like one day a kid can’t read and the next day he or she can.” Janhunen continued, “I enjoy seeing the kids not want to put a book down. It makes me feel good when I see the kids reading.”
Janhunen realized she wanted to teach when she had her first child. “If I teach one kid at a time how to read then it will help.” Janhunen said, “Think about it, if I ended up teaching 300 students how to read by the end of the school year, I would consider that helping out the world.”
Janhunen added, “Every year I found myself saying the same things over and over to new teachers of methods that work. Then Jenny Cunningham, who runs the mentoring program, said ‘you should write a book.’ I thought maybe I should.”
The idea of the book is how to empower students to guide their own learning. Each chapter begins with a story involving her students’ experiences.
Cunningham has been helping her with the book. Janhunen writes and emails her ideas to her and then she edits and sends them back to Janhunen.
Janhunen is hoping to complete the book in two years. Of the ten chapters planned, six have been completed.