Archive for Thursday, January 26, 2006

Students help to ease new teacher’s fears of starting mid-year

January 26, 2006

For Renee Potter, her new job at Lansing High School is "just exactly what I had hoped for."

"It's a good fit. It's really a good fit," she said.

Potter is teaching American and world history and sociology. She started at the beginning of the semester to take over the classes of Kevin Riemann, who left Dec. 1 to take a job with the Kansas National Education Association.

Potter graduated last year from Park University in Parkville, Mo. She spent the fall semester working as a substitute in Leavenworth, Easton and Platte City, Mo.

A Leavenworth native, Potter said she'd known about Lansing school district's reputation for a long time.

"If you live in the community, you know this is a really great school district," she said.

Though the high school history classes she's teaching are exactly what she had trained for, Potter said she was a little anxious about starting mid-year. However, she said the students were making the adjustment to having a new teacher with a positive attitude.

"I think it's working well," she said.

Potter said her goal as a teacher was to be there for her students. One way she hopes to do that, she said, is to work together with parents and the community.

"Together we can accomplish a lot," she said.

Another way to achieve her goal, she said, is to be all ears.

"I really believe in listening to what people are saying," Potter said. "I think if you listen, you can be a really effective teacher by giving students the time. : I think students know when you're willing to listen, to help them."

Potter also hopes her philosophy will help her get to know her students better. She's been at the school for only a few weeks, but Potter said she'd already gotten to know many of her students.

Her contract runs through May, but if she is retained to teach next year, Potter said she hoped to get involved in student activities as a sponsor.

Her desire to be involved punctuates her perspective on teaching: "I'm here because I want to be here."

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