Ritchie Elementary School teacher Elaine Reed believes the start of the school day determines the extent of her students’ learning.
That’s why the third-grade teacher is dedicated to providing her students with a safe, joyful and encouraging environment when they enter her classroom each and every day. Reed said a day in her classroom may begin with music or it could involve yoga, but it is always filled with positivity.
“You have to make learning fun for the student,” Reed said. “You have to make a connection with the children. I like to play music for them and involve dancing and movement. You have to set a tone of positivity in a relaxed atmosphere. I want them to be happy to be here. That is essential for a child to learn.”
Ritchie Elementary School Principal John Jorden said Reed’s strategies are working. He said her students are happy, and they are achieving.
“She is simply that good,” Jorden said. “Ms. Reed’s students always grow and improve. If she works with an average student, that student becomes a good student, and her good students become great ones. Her (students’) state test scores are amazing. She’s the best.”
Reed’s teaching career begin in the early ’90s when she served as a substitute teacher for six years in California. Her family then moved to Arkansas where she was a substitute teacher for four years, and at times she was a teacher in the classroom of her own children.
Reed, who is originally from Wheeling, returned to the Friendly City about 10 years ago. She served a substitute teacher in Ohio County Schools for two years. Then, she served one year as the media specialist at Bridge Street Middle School. From there, she moved on to Ritchie Elementary School where she has served the past seven years. Reed is a dedicated employee, and she missed only two days during the 2016-2017 school year.
Reed is quick to discuss the Ritchie teachers with whom she regularly collaborates. She said she has formed excellent teaching collaborations with April Panas, Tish Paree and Shannon Gessler. She said Ritchie students benefit from an excellent staff of teachers.
Reed said seeing her students learn and make academic breakthroughs is greatly rewarding. She said, however, that what makes her most happy is to see a child learn without fear.
“I want a child to be comfortable in raising his or her hand to answer a question even if they may be wrong,” Reed said. “It is rewarding to help a child achieve a goal, but is also rewarding when a student tells me that I make learning fun. I love to feel like I’ve made an impact on a child’s life.”
Photo: Ritchie Elementary School third-grade teacher Elaine Reed is shown with students Trey Lew-Bledsoe and Isabella Hoskins.