Lessons from the Field: Interview with Carol Richtsmeier

This post is part of the The Teachers Certification Map’s “lessons from the field”, a series of posts featuring passionate, inspiring educators from across the country discussing some of the lessons that they have learned over the years that would help young teachers as they embark on their careers.

Carol Richtsmeier teaches journalism, photojournalism, newspaper and yearbook at Midlothian High School, and she also authors the blog Bellringers.  Carol has been teaching since 1986, and her extensive experience reaches to all areas of the classroom.

Below is our interview with Carol:

Q:  What inspired you to teach?

A:  When I was in high school, I had a high school journalism teacher who was amazing. I initially worked as a reporter when I graduated from college, but I always knew I would eventually get my teaching certification and go into teaching because of her. I still keep in touch with her.

Q:  What classroom methods are most helpful in pushing students towards their goals?

A:  I think high expectations are critical. I refuse to spoon feed my students information. Instead, I expect for them to problem solve.

Q:  What is the one thing you wish you’d known when you started in the classroom?

A:  Don’t take everything so seriously. Learning should be fun–maybe not all of the time, but at least some of the time.

Q:  What skills could more developed if you were to enroll in a teacher training program?

A: I think good technology training programs are great, but then you need the time and resources to practice and implement them into your classrooms. What would I like to improve about my teaching? I would love to be able to attend the Poynter Institute (for writing) or to attend one of those intensive photography workshops. How cool would that be? To actually go to a place where you can work on your skills and talents, and then take the knowledge back to the classroom. Ah, but to dream.

Do you know someone with great insights to share with young teachers, or do you want to be considered for an interview? If so, please email us at hello@certificationmap.com.

This is a guest post from our journalist Alex J. Mann.  You can subscribe to his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.