The silent educator

While impacting, assisting, and encouraging her students, Steltzriede explains her position at Upper Campus and the benefits she brings


Alyssa Thomas

Steltzriede helps a student in her adjusted learning class play a game on March 23, 2022 in the cafeteria.

Alyssa Thomas, Contributing Writer

As you frantically find your way to your English class through the Upper Campus halls, you find yourself looking around to notice something you haven’t noticed in any of your classes before, your class seems to be occupied by two teachers. Confused by the need of two teachers, your English teacher explains, “Joining us in the back of class is Ms. Chris, our Instructional Assistant for this English class.” Ms. Chris Steltzriede is an Instructional Assistant for McHenry Upper Campus, she has been working her position here for 12 years. Steltzriede provides insight on the side of Upper Campus that seems to be overlooked. 

Steltzriede, better known as Ms. Chris to her students, helps to make sure student’s needs are met in the classroom setting. While she currently assists in an English class with Mr. Petrucci, she could be traveling anywhere she is needed, she describes, “I could be in a math classroom for a day, english, science, wherever they need me I am there,”. Steltzrieeide also explains she can be asked to help in elective classes as well, describing she has worked in culinary classes, power mechanics classes, autos classes and more. 

While assisting in as many classes as Steltzriede does and engaging in the same activities as the students, she gets to know the students on a different level than a teacher. Being the extra eyes and ears of the classroom she explains, “I get the opportunity to get to know the kids better than the teachers might and to understand them on a more personal level.” She describes how she knows when her students are having a bad day, or when they need help or in certain instances, in distress. While getting to know the students that deeply, Steltzrieeide has helped students stay more engaged and focused in the classroom setting and some students explain Steltzrieeide has made them a more outgoing student. 

Helping people has always been Stletzriede’s passion, that passion seems to rub off in all her work she does at Upper Campus. One of Steltzriede’s students explains they have had Steltzriede as an Instructional Assistant since freshman year, explaining that Steltzriede always took the time to get to know her students. One of her students, Soul, describes instances Steltzriede has taken the time to complement and learn about her art designs. While Steltzriede has a passion for helping she also is a welcoming individual for anyone to engage with. One of Steltzriede’s former students brings up,“Ms. Chris is never short to make you feel welcome with her stories and kind gestures,” adding, “She listens to you, Ms. Chris is always there to hear about your bad days or ridiculous stories.” Teaching while also getting to know students is an important aspect as a teacher, finding a balance to those aspects make all the difference in the classroom. 

Many of Steltzriede’s students could describe her as the mother of their class, and Steltzriede couldn’t agree more. Always involved and engaged in her student’s lives in and out of the classroom can bring, she describes, “this motherly emotion”. Bringing up, “Before the pandemic I have had some students I could say I have had all four years as an Instructional Assistant and it was definitely emotional having them leave.”Adding, “Some students I am used to having around all of the time!” Stelizriede explains she still keeps in touch with a lot of her former students via facebook or instagram, describing it makes her feel good to have such an impact. 

While helping, impacting and engaging with her students there is one thing Steltzriede hopes to imprint in her students and youth alike, emphasizing the importance of learning to read. While helping students and people alike, reading has always been Steltzriede’s passion, she never fails to incorporate this into her classroom. Stelzriede encourages and pushes students to find their passions and motivators in life, that is an important aspect to an individual. Steltzriede hopes to be an Instructional Assistant for Upper Campus for many years to come to assist and impact kids alike!