Often times I am asked exactly what it is that I do. In response I always say that I am a Science Teacher.  I am usually answered with the following statement, “ Well the summers must be nice.” I am always stumped on how to proceed after this statement. You see I work as an educator in a Residential Treatment Center or RTC. Many of you out there may not know what an RTC is. Well, I will sum it up for you, an RTC is a facility where young people, in my case girls, come to live and work on any area of their lives that they may be struggling with. Most of my students are in my company for a time of 8 to 9 months. In this time I have the opportunity to get to know them on a personal level, and this in turn helps me to individualize the way I teach them.
So back to our school situation and how it works while these girls are here. We are a regular High School just like anywhere else. We have all our certifications and licenses that any other Utah High School has. Our diplomas are recognized all across the country and have gotten many of our young women into colleges of all caliber and variety. So what exactly is different about a school in an RTC? For starters we are a private school and in this capacity we are able to limit our class sizes to optimize our instruction time. Our classes range from as small as 5 to as large as 20. I am very fortunate to become familiar with all of my students learning styles as well as their personalities. With the relationships that I form with my students comes the ability to take their learning to a whole new depth. I can personalize not only my lesson plans but also the way I teach my lesson plans to each individual. I also have the ability to meet with my student’s one on one to ensure that they understand the material and are on their way to mastering it. I have the flexible hours to meet with them for individual tutoring sessions one on one to give the student all of my attention for their educational needs.
These are just a few of the many opportunities that I have to further the learning of my students. I feel that perhaps the most important part of my classroom is the individual relationships that I form with each and every one of my students. I get to know them on a personal level and they, in turn, get to know me. This has made my classroom environment extremely safe and fun for learning. I hope that this little note helps any of you out there that have any questions about the school in an RTC. There are of course many other advantages to our school, but I believe these few are the most important. I would like to let you know that I feel very lucky to be teaching in an environment where I get to do so much for so many.
–          Written by, Jacob Grimm, Science Teacher Sunrise Academy Residential Treatment Center.