Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Teacher wouldn’t leave class for a million bucks

Some teachers are so passionate about teaching even $1 million won’t budge them from the classroom.

Rio Salado College instructor Kathleen Remick is one of them. She has no plans to retire even though she recently won $1 million in the St. Joseph Hospital Health and Wealth Raffle.

“I like teaching. I never wanted to do anything else. I love every minute of it,” Remick said.

An elementary schoolteacher for 32 years, Remick retired in 2003 but found she wasn’t quite ready to forgo teaching completely. She spent some time as a substitute teacher and then she found her niche as an online teacher at Rio Salado College, where she teaches others how to teach.

“It was a weaning process,” she said. “I had to wean myself away from having 25 children every day to working with adults. It’s worked out very well, and I really enjoy it.”

Online teaching allows Remick to experience all the rewards of teaching but with the flexibility to create her own schedule. She is no longer required to keep regular hours or times. She can teach when and where she wants.

She’s also found her concerns about developing positive relationships with students without the face-to-face contact weren’t valid.

“I was surprised at what a close relationship you can have with your online students through e-mail,” Remick said.

Remick developed such a close relationship with one student stationed in Iraq she continued to correspond even after the student finished the class. Remick even sent her a care package several weeks after the class was completed.

And some months later, when the student’s daughter was deployed to Iraq, the student wrote Remick about the event. Remick now sends packages on a regular basis.

A reading teacher, Remick teaches Rio Salado undergraduates, certified teachers working on endorsements, those in the post-baccalaureate teacher prep program and teacher-in-residence students how to teach youngsters to read.

“Reading is one of the most important subjects to teach,” Remick said. “If you can’t read, it’s hard to function,” Remick said.

Remick is thrilled with the success of her students. Most of her classes have practicums requiring students to practice their skills tutoring students.

“The feedback from students as they use the concepts they have learned in class are as rewarding to me as it is for them,” Remick said.

Remick also likes working for an institution that offers high-quality education classes for those preparing for a lifetime of instructing young minds.

“I am just very impressed with all the programs, how they are run and how everything, and everyone works together toward the same goal. It is just amazing,” Remick said.

Rio Salado College is one of the 10 Maricopa Community Colleges. The college has an extensive education program including post-baccalaureate teaching certification for K-12 teachers, professional development and specialty endorsements courses. For registration or more information call 480-517-8540 or go to www.riosalado.edu/registration.