Flex seating classroom filmed by WCCO
Despite being interviewed last Tuesday by WCCO-TV for an upcoming segment on the unique flex seating arrangement in her classroom, Heather Anderson has no aspirations about making a habit of being on screen.
The segment will air on the WCCO 10 p.m. newscast on Dec. 10. If the NFL game aired that day runs long, the newscast will begin later.
“I am sure I embarrassed myself,” joked Anderson, in her 12th year as teacher.
“I made up two words while I was being interviewed. After I said the word, I kept repeating them in my head, thinking those are not even words.”
And with that, the 2017 nominee for Minnesota Teacher of the Year, will remain in her current profession, teaching 8th and 10th grade English, as well as College Now courses.
“I could never leave school,” she laughed. “I love working with my students. They definitely make each day fun and interesting.”
Montevideo native John Lauritsen, a reporter for WCCO-TV the last 10 years, heard about Anderson's flex seating in her classroom in which students sit in various comfortable positions to study and learn.
There is a couch, beanbag chair, rocking chair, glider, recliner, benches, yoga poofs, tables, lounge chairs, rugs, lamps and more offered for those wishing to study and learn in an unconventional but more comfortable arrangement, similar to a home atmosphere.
Corey Moseng, the GMO at Universal Forest Products in Minneota where Anderson’s husband Jerry works, is also a native of Montevideo and a friend of Lauritsen. Moseng read a story in a February issue of the Mascot about Anderson’s flex seating and sent the article to Lauritsen for a possible on-air news story.
“Corey never told me he did this, so when I got the phone call I was surprised,” said Anderson.
“I received a message at school the last week of October (from Lauritsen). When I listened to the message, I called my husband to ask if this was a joke.”
“I then called Mr. Frie to let him know about the message I received. When it was clear that it was not a joke, I immediately called Lauritsen back.”
Lauritsen and his cameraperson Melissa Martz made the trip to Minneota on Nov. 28, arriving at 11:15 a.m. and departing around 1 p.m. “It was a short visit, but it was really neat,” Anderson noted.
As soon as they set up, a microphone was placed on Anderson so they could film her teaching. They also filmed some of the students working while sitting in non-traditional positions and seats.
“When I was walking around the room and helping the students, the camera followed me,” explained Anderson.
“With the way my seating is, it got a little difficult for them. At times, I would be on one side of the dining table, so they would have to be on the other side to have the camera facing us. Then, when I would move to the side of the table they were on, the camera person had to quickly go to the other side.”
Besides Anderson, Lauritsen also interviewed Social Studies teacher Jessica Rosa, who teaches across the hall from Anderson. “I bounce a lot of ideas off her,” remarked Anderson, and students Nolan Boerboom and Anna Gruenes were also interviewed.
“I was very nervous,” Anderson said when asked.
“I did not want to forget talking about any of the benefits of flexible seating. (Lauritsen) told me to just look at him and not to worry about the camera.”
“Right! When he said that, I looked right at the camera. I’ll bet he was just laughing to himself.”
The students enjoyed learning how a television segment is put together, as well as participating.
“The students were pretty natural when the camera was on them,” Anderson said.
“It was cute because a few students cut me off when I was answering their question and whispered 'What do I do? Should I smile?' I'm glad they were willing to be a part of it.”
The students knew for several days that a film crew was coming to their school. “The kids were very excited,” Anderson said. “We had been talking about it for a while.
On Tuesday, we knew they were going to show up around 11 a.m., so we kept looking out the window for them.”
When contacted, Lauritsen said he had heard about flex seating before, but not at the high school level.
“The kids seem to like it. But if they had had this when I was in high school, I’m not sure I would’ve stayed awake if I got settled into a couch or recliner,” he joked.