Teacher Feature: Mr. Richert

Nancy Valenzuela, Writer

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At Obama Academy, we have amazing teachers at work to help us. I decided to interview Mr. Richert, someone who is more than a teacher and inspires students through words and advice. He is one of Obama’s middle school English teachers.

 

Nancy Valenzuela: How has it been working at Obama for the past year?

Mr. Richert:  The first year at Obama was a little bit tougher than I expected. The beginning of the year was a difficult adjustment for me last year, but I knew after a few weeks that this was the place for me.

NV: What was your experience when you taught your first class?

Mr. R: My first experience teaching at Obama was nerve-racking. I had already been with PPS for 4 years and thought I had it all figured out. Even though I explained I’d been teaching for a while and worked in schools where they might have friends, my students kind of treated me like the “new kid.” I really had to work hard to try to make connections and build relationships.

NV: Is there anything you would want teachers or the school to improve upon?

Mr. R: I think we need more student leadership in the school. I don’t mean in the form of more clubs or groups or anything like that. To improve, we all need to set better examples. Sometimes it is frustrating to see students who know better and could do better set a poor example or lead in the wrong direction. I think there is a lot of opportunity for kids to lead by example and really make this school one of the best, not only in the city, but in the global community.

NV: Is it easy to teach middle school?
Mr. R: Some days are easier than others. I have found out that attitude goes a long way. If I have a positive attitude, the students are more likely to as well. When we are all on the same page, it’s easy and it’s a lot of fun. When we aren’t, those are the days that are most challenging.

NV: What is your everyday life as a middle school teacher?
Mr. R: Every day is different, which is both exciting and difficult to manage. You never know what might happen but you kind of have to be ready for anything. Everything from adapting a lesson on the fly to helping students work through things in their life is on the table. You have to have a plan, but you have to be prepared to go with the flow.

NV: Do you have any advice for students?

Mr. R: You make what you want of this whole experience. Nobody else is going to do it for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in this world, but don’t just expect that help is going to be there for you either. It takes courage to want to be great and successful, you have to fight against so many people that don’t want you to succeed, or who are jealous of your gifts. Never let anyone dull your shine. And never ever waste your talent.

NV: How do you view Obama as compared to other schools? 
Mr. R : Obama is a place where amazing opportunity meets students who are seeking it. It’s up to those students if they want to take advantage of those opportunities. At Obama I see more and more students reaching for the stars.

NV: What are the pros and cons for teaching middle school?

Mr. R: Pros: I have the opportunity to work with some many talented and positive people, students and staff included. I see so many bright futures in the faces of my students. Cons: Sometimes everyone has days where they just don’t want to. Trying to inspire yourself or others on days like that is really difficult. But you have to do it anyways. Gotta show up and try to be great.

Now that you’ve gotten to learn more about Mr. Richert, you can tell by the interview that he is passionate about his work and cares for his students’ futures and speaks the truth.

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