Back to School Advice

July 10, 2020

Written by Rachel Hungerford

We all have a teacher who has impacted our lives. Garden Spot has more than a few former teachers living right under our roof! Here’s some exciting stories and words of wisdom from just a handful of educators.


Win Reber
Subject: Art, K-12
Taught for: 40 years
Craziest thing that happened on the job: “Doing pottery, I started each morning by wedging 50 pounds of clay for my classes, and lifting and moving 80 pound boxes of wet clay around the studio. This kept me in great shape. One day there was a disturbance in my room and I found a large bully picking on a smaller boy. He had him and was squeezing him in his arms. The smaller boy was panicked. I reached around the bully, grabbed him and just picked him up, put his back over my shoulder and just held him. He had to let go of the smaller boy when I picked him up. He didn’t know what to do. I remember him whining and begging to be let down. I carried him over my shoulder to the dean of students.”
Advice for current students: “Shut off your electronics and enjoy learning. Every subject is enjoyable if you give it a chance. The teacher may not inspire you, but the materials will, if you keep an open mind.”


Ruth Anne Starnes
Subject: High school art
Taught for: 17 years
Craziest thing that happened on the job: “On a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, we entered a huge room full of contemporary paintings, each with its own tiny label with the artist’s name, etc. A student spotted a small 3-D object on the wall and asked for me to translate since there was no label. Although it looked suspiciously like a thermostat, I couldn’t be sure since it was surrounded by what looked like paint thrown randomly on canvas by one Jackson Pollock. Searching for an explanation, I said, ‘Just because it’s hanging in a museum, doesn’t mean it’s art – we all have to decide that for ourselves.’”
Advice for current students: “The greatest oak was once a little nut that held its ground.”


Fran Rapp
Subject: Elementary school
Taught for: 35 years
Craziest thing that happened on the job: “I took 20 fifth graders on a 10 day trip to Plymouth, England, three years in a row, to meet pen pals (was I crazy, or what?).”
Advice for current students: “Don’t be afraid to try or experience new things.”


Thelma Etter
Subject: first, second, and transitional first grade (a class for children who have been to kindergarten but are not ready for first grade)
Taught for: 30 years
Craziest thing that happened on the job: “Something I will never forget is a field trip to the Philadelphia Zoo with my first grade class from a suburban Philadelphia school. The children and their chaperone mothers agreed on the prearranged time to meet back at the bus to return to school. Everyone arrived on time but one little boy! The mothers and I panicked! Where could we find one little boy in that big zoo? What a relief it was when little Walter arrived at the bus proudly claiming that he had not been lost, because he had bought a compass.”
Advice for current students: “Show more respect and cooperation.”


Mike Bubb
Subject: grades 4, 5, and 6 in various elementary schools; practicum classes and supervision of student teachers; in the summer, taught classes for Millersville, York College, and Penn State York
Taught for: 46 years
Craziest thing that happened on the job: “Teaching 4th graders about our new classroom pets—2 gerbils. This provided many ‘teachable moments.’ We researched books and other materials, their diets, habits, etc. Their pen was the congregating point each morning. Everything went fine until one morning instead of 2 gerbils, there were 6! It must have been divine intervention!”
Advice for current students: “In your future years of education, you will be expanding many skills. You will be building new reading skills, new writing skills and gaining more computer knowledge, plus many other interests. You will find all this very interesting and valuable. Above all, have fun as you are being challenged.”

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