Making the Grade
Ryan Mihm is a newcomer to the local education scene. He taught third grade for two years in Olathe, Kan., before coming to Summit Cove Elementary this year as a fifth-grade teacher.”He’s incredibly caring and compassionate with the kids,” said Summit Cove Elementary principal Crystal Miller. “Kids are full of smiles and sunshine when they see his face. They just adore him, and he develops really good, strong relationships with parents and families.”Inspiration: School never interested me prior to meeting my sixth-grade teacher, Mr. J. I no longer remember specific information that I learned in his classes, but I do remember how he instilled in me a love to learn.My own students have provided me with perspectives that I never experienced while growing up in a rural community. Witnessing the difficulties of language barriers, parental drug and alcohol abuse, and irresponsible families has helped me understand the larger necessities in life.
Motivation: Having the opportunity to watch students smile and interact with one another is pretty addicting. Every week I am fortunate to witness my students growing both academically and as kind human beings. The possibility that a teacher could impact major future decisions within a student’s life keeps one truly motivated and committed.Philosophy: I work toward giving students the knowledge and tools necessary to help them make important current and future decisions. This knowledge encompasses both academic skills and social skills. I believe students learn best through example and consider myself a role model inside and outside the classroom.
Modern challenges: Schools have taken on an increasingly large number of roles within society that are nonacademic. Even though the number of roles has increased, the length of the school day has remained the same. Teachers find themselves in a complex balancing act between academic roles and social roles.Accomplishments: I feel lucky to have met some amazing people who have positively influenced my life. Besides those individuals, I am happy and healthy.Role models: My parents taught me so much while I was growing up and provided me with many memorable experiences. They even reluctantly supported my move to Colorado with hopes of a quick return. I was also lucky to have an older sister who, at times, graciously served as a guinea pig when testing the boundaries at home. My closest childhood friend has had a huge impact on my life and continues to do so today.
If I had $100,000: I would hire more paraprofessionals and increase the wages for the existing ones. Paraprofessionals spend an amazing amount of time in small student groups. They often have the opportunity to work one-on-one with students and consequently have huge impacts on students.Extracurricular: I enjoy all of the usual outdoor activities that many people in this county do. But I also love watching movies and eating ice cream.My students would be surprised to know: My sister and I once tied my gullible babysitter to a support post in my parents’ basement to avoid chores. However, I no longer recommend this strategy.- Julie Sutor
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