134. Copenhagen Schoolhouse: Reba Steck

Ann Marie Decker teaches fourth grade at a local elementary school that was named in honor of a longtime Naperville teacher, Reba Steck: “Reba was such an innovator in her teaching. The one-room schoolhouse is what she taught in for most of her career. I find that there’s a lot of similarities. The focus is now to teach to the child and their learning level, so you really have to structure your curriculum to where they’re at, and that’s exactly what a one-room schoolhouse was all about—the older ones helping the younger ones helping the teacher. Reba always mentioned the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As a schoolteacher now we still try to do that. I think that it’s a little bit harder now because that was taught at home and just reinforced in the school. Now it seems like we have to try to teach that at the school and hopefully it will get reinforced at home. In our school now, to help with the discipline we have a different focus each month. The first month was respect, and then we talked about responsibility and cooperation, focusing on a new aspect of the Golden Rule. We try to do more of a strict ‘here’s the consequence of your actions.’ I’ve been pretty lucky in my class that I’ve never had to send someone to the principal for discipline problems. Kids misbehave when they’re not on task and going, and you have to discipline accordingly. Most of that discipline is just a talking to.”