Rovenia Braddy writes about Harrisburg from the point of view of someone who lives, works, shops and socializes there.
I am a retired special education teacher who taught in both the Central Dauphin school district and in Harrisburg. I retired about two years ago, but once a teacher always a teacher. I really started to miss interacting with kids, so I decided that I wanted to go back and substitute. I am currently working on writing my second book. It's a children's book about children with special needs. Substituting not only gave me the opportunity to do what I love to do most, but also allowed me to save money to publish my book.
After twenty four years of teaching I had determined that elementary was not my forte, I preferred working with secondary students. However, this position would help me reach my goal, publishing my book. Besides, there was no paperwork involved and I could come and go without the emotional commitment that comes with being a contracted classroom teacher.
With having just these two goals in mind I wasn't expecting to find what I found at Thomas Holtzman Elementary school. Thomas Holtzman is in the Susquehanna school district. It is located on Linglestown Road in Harrisburg. The day I decided to sub as the extra help teacher I was expecting to go into a classroom, work with the students and fulfill any duties that were asked of me. However, this day was a little different. I had the opportunity to work with a young teacher who taught 3rd grade. She was dedicated to her craft, I could tell this after talking with her and when she said these magic words, "These are my kids." I can remember that feeling when I would talk about my class to friends and family. I would frequently use that very same phrase, "My kids." The phrase resonated fond memories for me, I was hooked, so much for those emotional ties that I was trying to avoid.
I became engaged in a classroom where every part of the day was driven by well planned lessons and organized teaching. I also had an opportunity to meet the assistant principal. She made herself quite visible to all the students throughout the day. She dispensed hugs to students, she greeted them and told them that she was happy that they were in school. She is a hands on administrator who understands the importance of keeping in touch with her teachers and being assessable to kids. No hiding out in her office for this administrator, she's out there with the rest of us; in the trenches as we used to say.
When I was asked to stay on for a few extra days, I jumped at the opportunity. Susquehanna school district has had its day in the media in the last several months. However, there are good things happening at Thomas Holtzman. There are administrators, teachers and staff who are going above and be on to educate, encourage and support our children. Even if it only last for a short time I am enjoying the warm and fuzzy feeling that can be found at Thomas Holtzman Elementary.