Ray Reetz grew up in Sand Creek, which is just south of Adrian, and lives there today. The Central Michigan University graduate teaches at Scarlett Middle School, where he serves as the social studies curriculum lead.
Scarlett Middle School Principal Gerald Vazquez says Reetz is a creative teacher who makes every effort to engage all of his students.
“At the beginning of most school days you will find eighth grade students huddled around Ray before school, planning how they are going to participate in his eighth grade history class,” says Vazquez. “Mr. Reetz has created an environment in class that affords students to own their learning. When former students return to visit, they always talk about how much fun it was in Mr. Reetz’s class.”
By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
What makes you well suited for the job? I have always wanted to be an eighth grade American history teacher. Because I have had a lot of different jobs, like the Army, cab driver, tow truck driver, fast food, tire repair, and factory worker, I know that this is what I was meant to do. I get to come to work and dress in costumes and work and play with middle school students. You just can’t beat that.
How has the profession changed since you started teaching? How have students changed? We are more than just teachers. We are counselors, coaches, nurses, and we perform all sorts of other duties that any given child may need at the time. You’re busier, but it can also be more rewarding. Then there is standardized testing.
Students also have more demands placed on them in the classroom then they did 20 years ago. I would imagine it is as stressful for them as well. I definitely believe that more and more students are having issues outside of school, and that does affect their performance during the school day. I just don’t remember it this way 20 years ago. That’s why it is so important to have a classroom environment that is safe, welcoming, and a place where students want to be. That said, once the door is closed and we are actually talking American history, I don’t really notice a difference. The kids want to learn and they want to have fun doing it.
What’s your best timesaving tip? Organization. We have so many different duties that have to be accomplished throughout the day. Some expected, but many times things just pop up. By being organized, I rarely have to spend time looking for something that I may need at a moments notice. As teachers we know how valuable time is during the day, and when I have to spend 10 minutes finding something instead of one, I get stressed!
What are your top 3 tips for new teachers?
- Take the time each day to get organized.
- Keep a log or calendar of how each class and lesson went.
- Find a colleague or two that you can talk to about school and non-school related topics.