By Wanda Hanson
Rushford-Peterson School is welcoming two new teachers this year, Jacob Kramer and Alex Smothers. Mr. Kramer actually student taught biology last spring with the teacher he now has replaced; as a result, although he is a first year teacher, he knows many of the students already. He enjoys the great community of teachers, staff, and students, noting that R-P has a very supportive atmosphere.
Mr. Kramer has found this year’s biggest challenge to be balancing his different classes and the remote learners. “I want to keep the remote learners in our school as academically challenged as their peers in the school are. As a first year teacher, there is already a lot to learn about teaching, and the remote teaching element is something that I am still fine-tuning,” Kramer commented.
Kramer shared that he was most surprised by how ready the students were to return to school. He had expected more students to be complaining about school, but “literally every student” that he’d had in class is excited to be at school and is ready to learn.
Kramer enjoys biking and running and is enjoying the easy access to the Root River Trail. He likes reading, hiking, and meeting new people. As a biology teacher, he is fascinated with wildlife, nature, and the outdoors; he loves learning about new places.
Alex Smothers is also a first year teacher at R-P. Alex graduated from Lester Prairie High School in 2015 and from Martin Luther College, New Ulm, in May 2019. Last year he substituted in several districts, gaining invaluable experience.
Smothers teaches social studies. He noted his biggest challenge this year is “just first year teaching challenges.” He is finding out which lessons he has created and which ones “fail miserably!” Of course, there are also added challenges that COVID has presented. Smothers is confident he will do okay, stating, “Adapting has always been a strong suit for me.”
How well the community and staff members know each other was surprising to Smothers. He commented, “I had people coming up to me and asking about the place I was moving into before I even moved in! Also, all the staff instantly knew my name!”
A passion for Mr. Smothers is sports — playing, watching, or coaching. He played baseball from t-ball through college as well as amateur ball in Waverly, Minn.
Welcome to both Mr. Kramer and Mr. Smothers; enjoy your time in the Rushford-Peterson School and community!