Head of the Class: Hartford teacher has a goal to do more than just building brains of her students

Head of the Class

Back to School Photos 2021-22

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Building Legos is kind of like teaching. You start the year with a classroom full of kids, ready to learn and be molded into better humans.

By the end of the year, you’re looking at a masterpiece after months of hard work.

“I’m a second grade teacher and I teach at Achievement First Hartford Academy Elementary School,” said Reba Stanley.

Reba Stanley has been a second grade teacher for two years and was with Kindergarten students for five years before that. For her, she loves Legos and she loves her job.

“And it takes my mind off of everything. I’ll just sit at my desk and go for hours,” Stanley said.

Her quest to become a teacher was ignited when she was 16 and sitting in Mr. Reynolds class.

“He was infamous for these pop quizzes where we would be learning, and he’s be like, ‘pop quiz!’ And he would just ask questions verbally and you would have to write down the answers, but what was difficult for me is I have dyslexia, so I wasn’t able to process what he was saying,” Stanley said.

Overwhelmed, she started to break down, but it was her teacher’s reaction that stuck with her forever.

“And not only did he make me feel cared for and see, and more than academia, but actually as Reba, the person. I was like, I want to be a teacher,” Stanley said.

Going on to pursue education and become a teacher, her goal is so much more than building the brains of her students.

“I feel as though an educator, you have more of a responsibility than to just teach content,” Stanley explained. “I just hope they know I cared and that I loved them because I do, I love what I do, it’s all about the kids.”

Stanley makes sure she fulfills that mission. Recently, she helped a little girl in her class.

“I can’t say that what people are going to say to you won’t hurt and your feeling aren’t valid, but what matters most is what you believe about yourself,” Stanley said. “And she just teared up and goes, ‘thanks Miss Stanley, I’ll never forget this.’”

It could be a moment like that, that chances that student’s life forever.

“Those are the little moments that turn into big moments for me where I’m like I’m actually living my purpose and I’m doing exactly what I should be doing,” Stanley said.

Building self-worth, confidence, and the love in her student’s hearts.

“I don’t care where you grow up, where you grew up, where you’re from, Hartford, Greenwich, you deserve the top-notch education and if you’re in my class, you’re going to get it,” Stanley said.

And knowing while they may have her as a teacher for one year, those students remember her for the rest of their lives.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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