Ruth Ann Fletschock, the October Unsung Hero, has taught kindergarten at St. Joseph’s School for the past 35 years.
Ruth Ann Fletschock, the October Unsung Hero, has taught kindergarten at St. Joseph’s School for the past 35 years. During that time she has seen many changes. But one thing that has not changed is her love of the children and her desire to get them going on the right path.
There is a lot of truth to Robert Fulghum’s statement, “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten” as Ruth enjoys helping children learn to share, play fair, clean up their own messes (and not hit people).
Former students, and their parents alike, speak highly of the lessons learned from Ruth. Her secret? Ruth says “you need to be patient and have a sense of humor. You also must start each day new.” Then she adds, “also it is important to over plan. That is essential - to over plan.”
Ruth says she appreciates having the option to use Faith as a teaching tool. She explains “this is a great way to teach values. It is good to be able to let the child know that it is important to please a higher authority than the teacher.”
Ruth received her degree in Elementary Education from Mayville State College, but began college as an Art Major. She believes that both art and music give great teaching opportunities. She loves to hear children sing during morning prayers. She says “when you give children a rhythm and a tune, the message sticks with them. You know they say that when you sing, you pray twice.”
Ruth feels that in recent years it has become more difficult to give children their moral compass because of the things they see on television. She says, “you can teach them what is right. But then they see people doing the opposite on television. This confuses them. It is not easy to combat that influence. We teach the children important rules. Then they watch TV and there aren’t rules there.”
Ruth says, her eyes twinkling, “of course there are humorous moments in the classroom when it is hard to keep a straight face.” When I asked for an example, she told of a child who called her Mrs. Chocolate and another who called her Mrs. Woodchuck.
A statement that is not allowed in her classroom is “I’m bored.” Ruth says “God has given us so much. We need to be grateful, not bored! If you’re bored, it is your own fault. Use your imagination. Use you talent.”
Ruth says that she was privileged to grow up in a very supportive home in Wolford, ND. She says “I have no complaints about my childhood. I had a good education at home and at school.”
She has dedicated her life, thus far to giving these gifts to others. She is deeply grateful for the support she receives from the capable staff at St. Joseph and also from the devoted parents of her students.
Ruth and Al, her husband and best friend of 38 years, are the proud parents of three daughters and three granddaughters. Ruth is considering retiring from teaching in the near future to have more time to devote to her family. She says “I’m thinking that you should stop while you still don’t want to stop.”
Ruth Ann says “I’m grateful to Sister Jeananne. Thirty-five years ago, she took a chance on the former Norwegian Lutheran girl. That is when I found a home at St Joseph’s Catholic School.” The Lake Region can be grateful to all of the dedicated educators who, like Ruth, devote their efforts to providing wise beginnings for the young.