It’s Valentine’s Day as this blog hits the presses – or whatever word might better fit. So, I want to reflect on something that I love. This entry is aimed at professing that love. I’m hoping it will go over better than those little candy hearts with cute sayings. Here goes: Richmond Community Schools, please be my valentine.
About eight years ago, I cut my educational teeth with Richmond Community Schools. As a man transitioning from one career to another, my first experience leading a classroom came at Dennis Middle School. Following that, I worked at Richmond High School as a long-term substitute. In 2011, I took my first full-time job as a teacher at RHS. Like any young teacher, those first couple years seemed a blur and I never felt adequate in what I was doing. But Richmond loved me back. I had great colleagues, administration, and everything else. I just didn’t know how much they loved me and how happy I’d be to see them again after teaching elsewhere for a few years.
That real love affair with RCS, and I swear I am in no way being compensated for these thoughts, came in 2016 when I returned to the district. Of course, there was one problem: I was required to attend a new teacher orientation. What began as an annoyance quickly became quite a beneficial activity for me. Sure, there was the bus tour of town, a place I knew well from my undergraduate days at in-town Earlham College, and there was a flurry of financial papers, speaking of…can’t wait to write the tax day blog. It was during one of those orientation days when the Richmond eLearning team came to present to us about this learning management system: Canvas. I had experience with eLearning gurus before and it hadn’t been a pleasant experience. Past relationships? #amIright?
But Kevin and Tim and everyone else who talked to us about the potential power of a blended classroom and a learning management system really were speaking to the idea of change. I was ready for a change. So, a year and a half later, here I am: I’m still looking for change. Because that’s what a good relationship does: it forces you to constantly reevaluate yourself and realize what’s best. Sometimes, those changes don’t go quite your way. My one month as a vegetarian proved that; although, for the record, you can get a sweet rice and bean burrito at Taco Bell. But my love for Richmond Community Schools hasn’t changed because there is a real tangible power that exists right now to be innovative, to not settle for the status quo, and to keep exploring how things can change in order to make classrooms better.
This is a cheesy first blog entry from me. But, sometimes cheese goes well with other Valentine’s Day treats. My love of Richmond has been solidified by people in this cadre of learners and innovators, as well as the previous year’s group. There are so many people to hand out little Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle valentines to this year. There are the Cadre folks. There are the administrators of RCS. But really, I want to spread some love to those people in Richmond High School who have motivated me through their presentations and desire to change those around me. Thank you Jason and Jeremy and Joel and Marc and Bill and Hunter and Jay and Jessica and Lauren and so, so, so many others. Please, all of you: be my valentine.
Today's thoughts come to us from Mr. Brian Bennett. Brian Bennett is in his seventh year teaching. He works at Richmond High School where he teaches dual credit classes in speech, composition, and literature, as well as 11th-grade English. He also works as a varsity boys basketball assistant coach and is co-chair of the English department. He is a two-time graduate of Earlham College and also has a masters degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He has a son, Stone, who rocks. In his spare time, Brian enjoys traveling and listening to music, mostly Pearl Jam who also rocks.