Longtime Waterloo teacher retires | Republic Times

By ISABELLE SIMMONDS

For the Republic Times

Kathy Reifschneider

Kathy Reifschneider has been blessed to spend all of her 35 years as an educator in the Waterloo School District, a place where she has made many happy memories and lifelong friends.

Reifschneider, herself a Waterloo graduate, says she had many teachers herself who inspired her to choose this career path.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I was in high school. One of my instructors, his name was Jack Burke, got me talking. He was the one who basically told me to try to teach, which is what I went to school for and have done for the past 35 years.

She taught at all three elementary buildings in Waterloo and made many memories along the way.

She was often known for being part of a group of teachers, educators, and others who organized an annual Civil War play as well as field trips to Springfield. She spoke fondly of her memories of these annual events.

“It always brings tears to my eyes when the kids get a standing ovation at the end of ‘The Blue and The Grey,’ which is our play,” Reifschneider said. “When we go to Springfield, my favorite thing is that the kids make so many connections to the things they learned in school. It’s really cool for them to be able to meet their senators and representatives and see them in action after hearing about the government.

Reifschneider loved being able to take her students to the Abraham Lincoln Museum, Abraham Lincoln House, and the Illinois State Capitol, where she got to watch them explore more of what they learned throughout the year. school.

A particularly fond memory for Reifschneider was when his students started singing a song from their play outside Lincoln House.

“They sang for their tour guide!” she laughed. “They performed the songs they learned from the play and it was really sweet.”

While she has enjoyed her time as a teacher, the years have also brought hardships – especially the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Probably the hardest part of teaching during COVID was trying to get to know my kids through Zoom,” Reifschneider said. “We have started the 2021 school year completely remotely in Waterloo, so trying to get to know my 9-year-old fourth graders via Zoom has been a bit difficult.

As a grandmother, Reifschneider says she is excited and happy to be able to spend more time with her two new grandchildren and watch them grow.

She also plans to spend her new free time traveling with her husband.

“I’m definitely going to miss the kids, and I’m going to miss my colleagues I’ve taught with for so many years,” Reifschneider said of his time with the school district.

“The coolest thing about working at Waterloo is that I’ve always been part of a really good team. My fourth-grade team has changed over time, but they’ve always been a very cohesive and supportive group,” Reifschneider said, adding, “Kids have always been first for all of us. I think that’s what made teaching at Waterloo the most special.

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