Center for Public Service Blog

Shine On Teachers: Alumnus Christopher Reece Shares His Teachable Moments

Christopher Reece Banner

Christopher Reece is a special education teacher working with kindergarten students at Ruediger Elementary in Tallahassee, Fla. He received a Master of Arts in teaching.

What motivated you to become a teacher?

I come from a family of teachers, so I have to say teaching is in my blood. I genuinely enjoy working with people and helping them accomplish and achieve, which was important to me when choosing a career. It was really the combination of being from a teaching family and my love of working with people that solidified my decision to teach.

What have you learned about yourself since you started teaching?

I’ve learned that making connections with my students and their families is, many times, more important than the academic component in the long run. It is when I connect with students and families on a personal level and hear from these same families years down the road that I made a positive impact on their lives. It’s easy to get hung up on the nuts and bolts of being a teacher, but we need to be mindful that you’re making connections with students and families that aren’t just for the time that they’re in your classroom but for years down the road.

What do you find most rewarding as a teacher?

The students that I teach are often well below grade level and have a lot of developmental concerns, so I don’t always get to see the advancements that they make because they progress at such a slow rate, so it’s rewarding for me—when I do run into them later on or when I talk to their teachers in middle or high school—to hear what they’re able to do now and how much they have accomplished.

It proves to me that what we accomplish now is vital, even if we don’t see the fruits of that immediately. It’s gratifying to see it later down the road, to know that we established a strong foundation in pre-K and kindergarten that has helped them achieve so much.

What advice do you have for someone who is considering teaching as a profession?

I would have to say that what you learn from your professors is important, but exposure in the classroom and leaning on the experience of others is vital. Teachers are a unique profession that, for the most part, want to help and share their tools and tactics with one another if they find something that works in their classroom. I found that I was able to connect with so many different people and listen to perspectives of how they operate their classrooms and what their challenges and rewards were. It is important to connect with people and learn what life is really like in the classroom before making the decision to teach.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author(s) and are not attributable to Purdue Global.