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Leslie Ritter

Leslie Ritter

Center Grove Elementary School

15.5 Years of Teaching; 15.5 Years at Center Grove 

To me, teaching is important because...

To me, teaching is important because I have a hand in helping to shape the future. I get to stay young and current in working with younger students. Just like going to Disney World and being a part of a magical experience, I have the fortune of seeing things through students' eyes. I get to see and feel their excitement while learning, and it truly is a magical experience. 

I have the opportunity to choose how I want to show up every day and knowing young eyes will be watching me, makes teaching an even more important job. I have experienced some trauma in my life with the death of my dad as a fifth-grader. I could have turned out very differently, and maybe it sounds cliché, but I chose to teach so that I could make connections with students and help make a difference in our society. I love making connections with students, whether it be at bus duty, in the hallway, in a classroom, or even when a student says hello to me at the grocery store. I crave that feeling of having a positive impact and knowing I am making a difference for our whole school for both students and teachers, as well as our community. Is teaching about academics? Definitely, but it is also about forming relationships and challenging students to be good humans. Is every day a walk in the park? Absolutely not, but that is also what makes teaching a challenging and engaging experience. Just as no two days are alike, no two students are the same either and teaching affords me the opportunity to help shape and guide our future. What an important and awesome journey I get to be a part of every day! Teaching is important because it allows me to make a difference in the lives of children.

Why else is teaching important to me? It may be rather obvious, but I enjoy being around kids. Children have a way of putting a smile on your face with some of the things they say. From telling an answer, to telling you about their weekend, to telling you a joke, you just never know what’s going to come out of their mouths at times. The best is when they have called me “mom” and realize it and then just give a big smile afterwards and say, “I mean, Mrs. Ritter!” This is another reason why teaching is important because teachers often spend more time on a school day with students than with their parents. They are sponges watching our every move and we are so fortunate to make those connections and be positive role models for them. If there is ever a question (this is one of my mantras I always have in mind), it should be, “Is it best for students?” Everything we do should come back to our students!