- Carthage College
Mari (Drummer) Grobschmidt has been teaching third grade at The Prairie School in Racine since she graduated from Carthage in 2002.
Her list of reasons to love teaching is extensive, but it all comes down to this: She enjoys learning and she enjoys watching her students learn.
“I love watching students blossom with gifts, talents, personality, creativity, and curiosity,” Mrs. Grobschmidt said. “I love it when students get so excited about learning that they cannot contain themselves. And I love spending every day trying new things and learning from my students. They are the best teachers, you know.”
Mrs. Grobschmidt says her time at Carthage provided her with a network of support, both personally and professionally, and she wants to help provide other future educators with the same opportunities.
“I am excited to have student teachers. I think one important part of being in an education career is to continue to mentor and coach those colleagues who are entering the field, so we all can continue to grow and better educators as a whole,” she said. “I had great professors who assisted me, so I want to be able to assist others.”
Mrs. Grobschmidt believes that it takes strong teachers to make strong teachers. At Carthage, her professor Marilyn Ward helped connect her to The Prairie School. Another education professor, Prisca Moore, helped her discover her love for designing curriculum. Professors David Krause and Jeff Roberg taught her the importance of being herself and critical thinking, she said.
Mrs. Grobschmidt has led her students in several large projects where she had the opportunity to really watch them show off their critical thinking skills. They adopted a beach through the Racine Adopt-a-Beach program for a service-learning project. Originally, the project was to clean up the beach, but then the class noticed a tributary that was feeding into Lake Michigan. With some help from the Department of Natural Resources, they pursued stream testing.
“We not only found some alarming information, but we also received a grant to continue the testing through the summer to get information about oxygen levels, temperature, phosphates, e. coli, macro-invertebrates, turbidity, and Ph,” Mrs. Grobschmidt explained. “Now we are working on an action plan to better the quality of the stream — with help form the community and the DNR — which in turn will better the quality of Lake Michigan. The students also got to name the stream, so now the tributary on all maps is named Prairie Stream.
“These two projects helped me to push what I wanted to study for my action research in grad school simply by watching the excitement and enthusiasm that the students had for the learning in these projects,” she said.
According to Mrs. Grobschmidt, the two most important skills that she learned at Carthage were how to multitask and how to prioritize. All of the opportunities available to students at Carthage make organization a necessity, which has helped her become a stronger teacher.
“Great people can make great change and we need the best of the best to become teachers,” Mrs. Grobschmidt concluded. “I would also say that a single person can be an element of change, and there are many boys and girls out there who need teachers who want to give all they have.”