The kids were running around the sides of the track during
aerobics, and one of the very bright boys who comes from a home
where no English is spoken came up to me and said, ‘Mrs.
Krahenbuhl, I shouldn’t be running here because I’m allergic to
“The kids were running around the sides of the track during aerobics, and one of the very bright boys who comes from a home where no English is spoken came up to me and said, ‘Mrs. Krahenbuhl, I shouldn’t be running here because I’m allergic to grass.’ So as they were lining up in front of the classroom, I said to him, ‘You need to have your mother write me a note,’ and he said, ‘She already knows.’
“Funny things like that happen everyday,” third grade Rucker teacher Janice Krahenbuhl says.
The thing that stands out immediately about this talented teacher is the absolute delight she takes in being a teacher.
She works hard, but she enjoys the kids so much that – in the sure sign of a true artist – she makes it look effortless: “I do find a big thrill in teaching. I always have stories to tell when I come home. Funny things happen every day.”
Mrs. Krahenbuhl comes from a long line of teachers.
“My earliest gift was being born into a family that was a loving and loved family. And a teaching family.
“My great-grandparents came from Scotland in 1892. A picture from a family reunion six years ago held in the church they attended in the town of Alton, Neb., shows 60 of us there. I kept hearing people talking about teaching, teaching, teaching. So they had a huge group shot taken of all the teachers on that side of the family.”
That Janice had inherited the family gift for teaching was spotted early on when her high school third year Latin teacher noticed her natural talent for explaining things. She encouraged Janice to go into teaching.
“When I really did things ‘right’ as a child, my father would say, ‘that’s the stuff!’ I was (by far) the youngest of his five children, and he was 72 years old when I was 22 and graduated from college,” she said. “At my graduation, as they read my name, ‘Janice Laughlin Krahenbuhl, high academic honors,’ I gazed up in the stands of thousands of people and amazingly our eyes met.
“He was such a clown! There could be no doubt in the mind of anyone nearby WHO he was there for, because he put his opened program on his head and collapsed on the knees of the person sitting behind him in the University of the Pacific football stadium. What a relief to have the LAST one educated! That said it all!”
When I observed Mrs. Krahenbuhl’s class one Thanksgiving, the Native American, Massasoit (Yellow Feather), who had helped the early colonists survive, was well-represented by one of her young students in what history says was his usual elegant attire of face paint, goose grease, yellow feathers, furs, and bone beads.
It was clear how much the kids were enjoying history coming to life.
“To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.” – Pearl S. Buck
“You don’t look a bit different than you did when I had you in 1974,” a former student said when he ran into Mrs. Krahenbuhl in the grocery store.
“This is my 41st school year in the classroom. People keep asking me, ‘Where do you get your energy?’ Well, if you’ve ever been in a room with 20 third graders,?” she laughs, “They are pretty energizing.
“Of course, the best class you ever have are those kids that you get from birth,” she says, speaking of her own two sons. “Being a teacher is pretty much who I am.”