Union Middle School teacher Rita Eikamp was nominated Teacher of the Week as part of 93.5 The Mix KCVM's weekly program that features a teacher per week. Teachers throughout the Cedar Valley are nominated on the 93.5 website and the staff at 93.5 reviews the nominations each week to pick the most noteworthy nominee to be Teacher of the Week.
"In my opinion, she is the nicest teacher ever. She always has a smile on her face, she's always happy to greet someone. Also, she makes her teaching fun, she always has jokes" wrote Krystal Harris, the student who nominated Eikamp, in her nomination application. Harris, whose class schedule was changed so she could no longer be in Eikamp's class due to a scheduling conflict, still felt inclined to nominate her stating, "I'm not in her class anymore, but it was great while I was there."
Eikamp, who is a National Board Certified teacher, has been teaching at the middle school level for 30 years. She currently teaches seventh grade language arts and American history. She was a recipient of the Gold Star Teacher award in 2001, which is an award developed by the R.J. McElroy Trust and KWWL. Eikamp felt "honored" that Harris nominated her.
Teaching middle school students is Eikamp's passion. "I have always taught middle school. They are special to me. The middle school age students are so full of energy and life. I enjoy being around them" said Eikamp. And this appreciation is mutual. Even during her free hour, students line up to visit with her and ask questions. The soft spoken teacher patiently helps each student while showing respect and kindness.
Krystal Harris isn't the only student who sings praises for Eikamp. Numerous students offered their opinions stating the likes of, "She's awesome, she's one of the most fun teachers" and "She is one of my favorite teachers." Each smiling student is a testament to Eikamp's work within the school.
"At this age especially, the kids care more about you caring about them than what they learn. It's very vital to them at this age that you care. I do care about them" said Eikamp. It's evident that Eikamp is a teacher that believes in the potential of her students and works hard to get results.
"I love helping them learn and seeing them improve their writing skills or their love for history. I love watching them be excited. We have a lot of fun. I try to keep them really engaged so that they like class and they are happy to be here instead of grumbling about it. It's amazing what kids can accomplish" said Eikamp.
The enthusiasm that Eikamp has for teaching middle school students is what makes her a favorite among her students. She loves her job and it shows. Eikamp is using her talent to not only teach the students at Union Middle School language arts and American history, but to make a long lasting impression on students as a person who truly cares.
As part of the Teacher of the Week award, Eikamp received a certificate, a 93.5 The Mix mouse pad, a $20 gift card to Panther Supply At the University of Northern Iowa, Little Caesar's Pizza certificates, and a pass to the Teacher of the Week banquet, which will feature a keynote speaker, to be held in June for all the nominees for Teachers of the Week for the 2011-2012 school year.