ERIKA SKAAR MAKES AN IMPACT AT BUFF, KINDERGARTEN AND BEYOND
Erika Skarr didn’t go to college intending to be a teacher.
Instead, she started at Linfield University as a nursing major.
“I did my lab, and it was a cadaver lab, and I just couldn’t do it,” said Skaar. “I was like, I’m out of here. I am not doing this. I can’t do this.”
After deciding nursing was not for her, she returned to her childhood desire to be a teacher. As a child, she loved to play teacher, even giving her brother fake assignments at a school desk. Ironically, both Skaar and her brother became teachers here in Madras.
Skarr started teaching in 2009. She teaches kindergarten at Buff Elementary in Madras. She’s always loved children and says teaching children at such a young and developmental age is rewarding.
“It’s so fun with this primary age to see that ‘Aha!’ moment and the things that click for them,” said Skaar.
Skaar is from Madras and didn’t necessarily envision returning to teach. However, now that she has two children, she says she loves raising her family here. She teaches dance classes at a local dance studio and loves connecting with children of all ages.
Skaar always knew she wanted to teach elementary school, and she loves working with children at such a fundamental stage.
“I always joke that kindergarten is like childbirth. It’s awful at the beginning, but after that, it’s the best thing ever. You forget every year; you forget how it was at the beginning.”
The pandemic changed how children learned — especially for young children learning more social and emotional skills. Now that the children are back in school, Skaar says she hoped she never has to go back and uses much less technology now.
“No technology. There’s no environment like no iPad pads. I don’t want to see any iPads in here,” said Skaar. “There are so many things you can’t use technology to teach children when they’re this young.”
Skaar credits her success in Madras to her team at Buff, especially principal Billie White. White shared that Skaar was a blessing to have, and she has brought a lot not just to her classroom but to the whole school.
One of the parents of a student she teaches shared that “(Skaar) is an amazing teacher and person. She makes going to school fun and interesting for the children. She is the sweetest person with so much love and patience.” Her principal said to ask “anyone in Madras” to tell you how much of an impact Skaar has had on the students she sees.
The long-term impact means a lot to Skaar. She teaches kindergarten and sees children progress through the building until fifth grade.
“One thing that I really love about now that Buff is a K-5 school is that there is not a kid that walks by my door that I don’t know their names,” said Skaar. “They see me for five years and know I love them, and I care about them for the whole rest of their time that they’re at school. We all want all children to be the best that they can be. We all want all children to be successful.”