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Andy and Ellen Raupp, husband and wife elementary school teachers and graduates of Walden University, both say they were influenced early on by the education profession. Ellen, a 2007 MS in Education with a specialization in Mathematics (K-6) graduate, says she wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember. “In elementary school, it was because I wanted to write on the chalkboard all day and give out stickers,” she says. “Years later, I knew teaching was my true calling when I realized the ability I have to connect with kids.”
Whereas Andy, a 2009 MS in Education with a specialization in Elementary Reading and Literacy graduate, came to teaching after pursuing other careers, he was influenced early in life by his father, who was a teacher for more than 35 years. Andy says, “None of the other professions I pursued tugged at me the way teaching did once I seriously entertained the idea of becoming an educator.”
Today, both educators see their decisions to become teachers as an opportunity to impact children’s lives and help hard-to-reach kids make progress in their educational journeys. For Andy, making sure his fifth grade students are inspired every day is very important to him. “I try my best to present content in interesting and creative ways that engage students and make them want to learn,” he says. Ellen also tries to inspire her fourth graders daily and has even been known to sing songs and dress up to help them learn. “I will do anything to engage my students and get them interested in whatever we’re doing,” she says.
For Andy and Ellen though, it wasn’t only about driving their students to learn. They, too, had the desire to learn more and become better teachers. Throughout his program at Walden, Andy uncovered many “jewels” that he was able to incorporate into his classroom. “There were many educational techniques and best practices I learned from my time with Walden—from using a kinesthetic approach in an effort to help students develop inferential comprehension, to implementing various techniques to help scaffold learning for struggling readers and writers,” he says.
“My studies at Walden forced me to consider many angles to math,” says Ellen, who notes she had to work really hard at math growing up. Her Walden coursework not only helped her see things differently but also enabled her to take those learnings back to her classroom. “Often we would solve a problem several different ways, causing me to not simply memorize, but understand. I carry this concept into my mathematics teaching in the classroom,” Ellen says.
Since graduating from Walden, the husband and wife duo have continued to hone their craft and improve as teachers, and they are now looking to help other teachers do the same. With the vision of providing teachers with tools to effectively and more easily inform instruction and chronicle student growth, the two recently launched a company, Powerhouse Education, and an iOS application called Chronicle. Chronicle utilizes multimedia technology, enabling teachers to quickly capture and share student progress via text, photo, audio, and video capabilities.
So what keeps these two educators motivated in their classrooms? “It’s the excitement and the reward of impacting a life that keeps me going,” says Andy.