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From the Field: Evan Rhinesmith

on Wednesday, 11 January 2012.

This week, third grade teacher Evan Rhinesmith (pictured above, far left) shares his thoughts about the ACE experience.

On choosing ACE
The biggest motivation for me to join ACE was the desire to help provide a quality education to children who otherwise would probably not get one. My older brother, a member of ACE 14, told me that it would be extremely hard work, but I would meet a lot of great people and experience a lot of rewarding moments.

On his ACE community
I live in an amazing community in Northeast, Washington, DC, with 5 other ACE teachers. Four are from ACE 17: Tim Malecek (above, 3rd from left) and Mary Jenkins (4th from left) teach high school at Don Bosco Cristo Rey in Takoma Park, MD; Lindsey Shambaugh (far right) and Jack Kelly (2nd from right) teach at St. Thomas Moore in Southeast DC. Joining me in ACE 18 is Alyssa Bellinder (2nd from left), who teaches high school math at Archbishop Carroll High School in Northeast DC. The 17s have been great for both Alyssa and me in terms of supporting us through our first year of teaching. It has been a valuable experience living in an ACE house and getting to know each of them.

On teaching and learning
I teach in Northwest Washington, DC, at Sacred Heart, a bilingual Pre-K 3 through 8th grade school where every student receives instruction in both Spanish and English. Because most of my students are not native English speakers, my biggest challenge initially was finding enough ways to explain a concept so that all my students would understand it. But because they approach every day with a willingness to learn, I have learned to be more patient—which makes it so much more fun to be with my kids. That has been an enormous personal victory.

On making a difference
I think I'm making the biggest difference for my kids by being interested in them. Just asking them questions about themselves—how they're doing, what they did after school, what they're going to do on the weekend—really makes them want to come to school and learn. One of my kids struggles sometimes with behavior; he was a challenge, especially at the beginning of the year. Right before Christmas, he seemed a little down, so I asked him if he was alright. He said, "Yeah, I mean, I'm glad I get to go home and play, but I like to be able to come here and learn and hang out with you." I never realized how much he liked to come to school. That was really awesome to hear!

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