Hays was originally inspired by her former Felten teachers

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Sydney Niernberger ist die Hays Post-Lehrerin des Monats Oktober.  Sie ist Lehrerin der sechsten Klasse an der Hays Middle School.<br />“/><figcaption class=Sydney Niernberger is Hays Post Teacher of the Month for October. She is a sixth grade teacher at Hays Middle School.

BY CRISTINA JANNEY
Hays Post

When Sydney Niernberger was a little girl, she set up a classroom in the family basement where she was her younger sister’s bossy teacher.

“It was always inside of me. It never wavered inside me. I always wanted to be a teacher,” she said.

She attended O’Loughlin Elementary School, Felten Middle School, Hays High School, and then earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Fort Hays State University.

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Getting a job at Hays Middle School after college was her dream. Six years later, she is still teaching literacy and language skills in sixth grade at the same school she attended as a child and loves it every day.

“My roots at Hays are very important to me and I am very proud to be here,” she said.

Niernberger was nominated for the Hays Post Teacher of the Month by Jodi Brazda.

“Ms. Niernberger made the transition from elementary school to middle school incredibly easy for my son. She was always open to all questions and listened carefully to our concerns during the transition to a new school, ”said Brazda.

Brazda said Niernberger has a strong work ethic, is incredibly organized, and is very transparent about their expectations.

“I really believe that my son’s success in sixth grade is in large part down to Ms. Niernberger. Not only was he on the honor roll every semester, but he matured a lot in his first year of middle school,” said Brazda. “He would not have been as successful as he without her help. It is very easy for little boys to get distracted and distracted from the task, and she always managed to help him overcome both.”

Die Sponsoren Mark und Lynette Ottley von Nations Auction und Elite Realty überreichen Sydney Niernberger, Lehrerin der sechsten Klasse an der Hays Middle School, den Hays Post Teacher of the Month im Oktober.<br />“/><figcaption class=Nations Auction and Elite Realty sponsors Mark and Lynette Ottley present Sydney Niernberger, sixth grade teacher at Hays Middle School, with the Hays Post Teacher of the Month award in October.

Niernberger continues to be inspired by the teachers she had as a student at Hays schools. She is still in contact with some of them and has photos of these special teachers hanging in her classroom.

Bill Maddy was the middle school class teacher at Niernberger.

“His concern for the children … He made us feel so special and at home and loved,” she said. “I will never forget that. Everyone loved Mr. Maddy. He was one of those very special teachers.

Her sixth grade English teacher Marilyn Engel became her mentor when she was hired at Hays Middle School after graduating from FHSU.

“She had this little classroom, but she made herself so comfortable. She was simply the best,” said Niernberger. …

“The circle has come very full,” she said. “She taught me so many lessons. I could never pay her back. She was definitely there for me and a very special person in my life. She means a lot to me.”

Sixth grade can be tough when students move to a new school, but Niernberger said she believed she found her niche in middle school.

“I love it when people ask me what I’m doing. I say I’m a middle school teacher and they look at me with the craziest faces like, ‘Oh my god. What’s wrong with you?’ I love that. You need someone that age, “she said. …

“I love this age because they can be gross little sixth graders, but they’re so funny,” she said. “Your personalities come out. I spend all day laughing. They still live from this connection with their teachers.

Niernberger said connecting with their students must come first because children won’t learn from teachers they don’t like.

“You have to take the time and the intention to get to know them,” she said, “to see what makes them tick and who they are.”

Her heart is broken by some of the challenges her students face.

“I can’t imagine being an 11 or 12 year old and going through what some of them go through,” she said. “If I can be that one person who takes the time to understand them and just listen to them and get to know them, then I have to do that first before I can teach them anything. …

“They need this one adult they trust and this person who can be there for them, and then we can get into reading and language skills and highlight them in that aspect.”

Some days she goes home crying.

“Just because you work from 8 to 3 doesn’t stop,” she said. “You still think about your children and what they are going through. Sometimes you lie in bed at night worrying about one of your children.

“Did you have dinner tonight? Have they been fed? I hope they were picked up from school on time.

Despite the sleepless nights and challenges, Niernberger feels blessed.

“It can be hard to remember day after day, but this is my dream. It’s cool that I live this every day. I feel very blessed because I’m young and sometimes people don’t find their niche when their boys are right off the bat, “said Niernberger.

“I thank my lucky stars that I’m here every day. I love my job. I really wake up every day and look forward to seeing the children and colleagues, and that’s what drives me.”

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