Meet Walking Classroom Ambassador Sammy Rebandt. Mrs. Rebandt is finishing her second year using The Walking Classroom with fifth and sixth grade students at East Jackson Elementary in Michigan. She has been working in education for eleven years and has taught preschool and third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade!
What are your memories of yourself when you were the age of your students?
I loved elementary school, and have memories of performing plays, reading awesome books, and having teachers who were always there to make me laugh. One of my favorite memories is going to sixth grade camp and getting to learn outside in a hands-on way with my classmates for a couple days! It was so fun and engaging!
What led you to become an educator?
I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. As the oldest of eight kids, I would spend my weekends and summer breaks “teaching school” to my younger brothers. In school, I had amazing teachers who would make me feel so special even with my goofy quirks. I have always known I wanted to be that person for other kids.
Share your educational philosophy in one to three sentences.
Kids should make mistakes, get messy, and be loud. Good education is built around relationships, and time well spent, and I believe that engagement looks different for all kids, but embracing it leads to learning.
What is your favorite content area/topic to teach? Why?
I love teaching STEM and technology! It is always changing, challenging, and updating. There is always something new to learn, something exciting to discover, and a new toy to play with!
How have you incorporated The Walking Classroom into your teaching?
I love being able to take a break from traditional learning, go for a walk as a class, get some fresh air, and listen to some podcasts to inspire our learning for the week. As a STEAM teacher, it looks a little different, but it allows kids to experience learning in all aspects of the day.
How has The Walking Classroom made a difference in your classroom?
It has given us an opportunity to be outside together for a meaningful reason. Kids have some freedom and responsibility with The Walking Classroom, and they enjoy learning a little bit more.
What is your favorite podcast or Walking Classroom memory, and why?
We had our local TV station come film us during a Walking Classroom lesson one day, and the kids were so excited. They loved being able to talk about what they were learning, and feel like rockstars for the day!
What is your best teaching memory?
That would have to be when I announced I was pregnant with my first child to the class I was teaching. My students knew I hadn’t been feeling well and was going to the doctor. They were beginning to get worried about me because I had to leave class to go to the bathroom often. They were so relieved that it was something happy and some of the students even cried happy tears for me. That whole year, they were so gentle and loving with me. I will never forget them.
What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Believe in yourself, even on the bad days. Every teacher feels the weight of the world on their shoulders, and even veteran teachers need help sometimes. Don’t ever doubt that you are making a difference. Find a good set of teacher friends that you can be yourself with, connect with, and cry with.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to travel with my husband, and our son Theodore. We love to be outside, explore new places, and just be together. We also love to play challenging board games with our family!
Name something you’d like to cross off your bucket list.
I would love to see a football game in the snow at Lambeau Field!