Whether she’s running marathons or blood drives, Heather Linde always seems to be smiling. It’s a trait her students appreciate.
Walking into the classroom, I am immediately bombarded by the temperature drop, the faint smell of formaldehyde, my phone notifying me that there is no service, and Heather Linde’s bright, dazzling smile. She is a vision in green, with her matching scrubs, glasses, shoes, and watch. “It’s neon day; this is my neon!” We fall into an easy conversation before I remember that I am there to interview her. I ask her a couple trivial questions, which get me trivial answers. I ask her where she has worked before, and she laughs a little and says, “Okay, I’m going to give you the long, drawn out version.”
Heather Linde was born and raised in Rapid City and attended Stevens High School. She went to USD and graduated with a biology degree. “I thought I was gonna be a doctor, but then I decided not to do that.” She joined AmeriCorps in Omaha and ran an after school program, soon realizing she loved working with kids. She got married and moved back to Rapid City and became a paraprofessional at Berquist Elementary before it closed. Loving the job, she heard there was a program to earn teacher certification for individuals with a college degree. She was accepted and became a certified teacher and was hired before even finishing the program. She became a proud Cobbler, which she continues to be 14 years later.
“One of the most rewarding things is when I don’t have students anymore and am able to see them again.”
Mrs. Linde teaches Biology 2, Anatomy and Physiology 1& 2, and Human Body Systems and loves teaching all of them. “The best thing about teaching is the relationships with students,” says Linde. “Being able to not only interact and teach them, but to learn form them is huge. Hopefully my students see that I care and they matter. If I’ve done that, then I feel like I’ve done my job. But hopefully I’m teaching them a little about science, too.” She explains that it is always hard at the end of semesters when she has to say good-bye to her students. “One of the most rewarding things is when I don’t have them anymore and am able to see them again. They brighten up my day, being able to see how they are doing and what not. Even hearing from students when they go off and do their thing and they send me little updates. It’s exciting to hear where life is taking them and to see that I had a positive impact.”
Being an alumni Raider, I asked her what she thought of Central compared to Stevens. “I love the diversity of the students. I’m not a student, so I don’t get to see it from that perspective, but from a teacher-perspective, I think that the students here do a good job of not having the huge stereotypes or the big cliques: ‘Its okay that you’re not part of my group but I can talk and hang out with you. I’m not going to treat you different just because we don’t like the same things.’ That’s what I love. This is a great place for you to learn.”
When she isn’t teaching students about the human body, taking charge the school’s blood drives, and leading the HOSA Club, she loves spending time with her family, scrapbooking, riding bikes, and being outdoors. She is an active member of the YMCA and is constantly partaking in different events there, including marathons. “Not that I love running, in fact I don’t like it that much, but when you have great people to do it with, and the benefits it has on your body and health, its really rewarding.” She runs along side her husband Dan Linde, and their nine-year old son Bodhi. Sawyer, who is two, will probably join in on this family activity.
She laughed and shouted “WOO, HOO!”
Linde uses her great stories about her marathons and other life experiences in her classes. Whether its to explain the lesson, or to simply tell a story, she leaves a lot of her students inspired. “I was afraid that people would make fun of me for wanting to go into labor and delivery,” explains Michailee Reynolds, a former Anatomy & Physiology student. “When I took her class and she told us that she originally wanted to be an OB doctor, it inspired me because she was so proud of it. It helped me get over what other people may think about my career choice and I can’t thank her enough for helping me overcome that.”
Mrs. Linde brings a contagious, positive attitude and electric energy to class everyday, motivating students to do the same. She encourages her students to believe in themselves and reach their goals, energizing them to push themselves and look forward to the next class. When asked what she has to say to upcoming students, she laughed and shouted “WOO, HOO!”