Editor's Note: We have been so excited to have one of our former students return during a break from college to serve as a Teacher's Aide here at Clapham School. I taught Betsy Richmann when she was in Class Seven. Imagine how thoroughly fulfilling it is, then, to see one of your students working in the classroom and sharing her gifts with new generations of students. She will soon return to her studies at Taylor University, but I asked her to share some reflections on her time with us.
Reflections on Coming Back to Clapham School
I’ve said that I want to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. When I was little this was mainly based on my love for kids and a passion for writing on a white board, but it didn’t take long for that idea to expand. I began as a student at Clapham School in Class Three and immediately fell in love with education. Teachers were more invested and knowledgeable than any I had experienced before. The books we read inspired and engaged me, making it tantalizing not to read ahead. The discussions we had contributed to my learning in profound ways often stretching beyond class time. The rigorous curriculum challenged me in healthy and exciting ways which defined my relationship with knowledge, beauty, and truth.
But only reflecting on the academics – as extraordinary as they are - does not do Clapham justice. The people I was surrounded by and the experiences I had at Clapham remain close to my heart. Small class sizes enabled my classmates to become family and my teachers to become mentors and friends. My teachers took the impressive curriculum and personalized it for every student in the classroom. I vividly remember times when teachers counseled me through challenges and other times when we laughed until we cried.
I left Clapham with a grateful heart and renewed passion for teaching. I am now a junior in college pursuing that career by God’s grace. When I had the opportunity to return to Clapham as a Teacher’s Aide, I jumped at the chance. It was surreal coming back, working in my former classrooms alongside former teachers. From the few weeks that I have been back at Clapham, I have renewed faith in the education field and a renewed passion for the career ahead of me. I am struck by the integrity and thought with which Clapham teachers create their lessons - unlike many schools I have observed recently. My coworkers impress me with the joy, energy and intentionality that pervades their classrooms. They work incredibly hard and their labor is clearly joy-filled. Their teaching is inspiring and their friendship is heart-warming, making it such a privilege to be back playing a role in the community which impacted me so profoundly.
Betsy Richmann is currently in her junior year at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana studying Elementary Education.