Former student returns as instructor

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August 24, 2015 - 12:00 AM

Of all the work Reine Loflin has put into her fledgling teaching career, she noted one aspect that was notably absent from her training — addressing colleagues who formerly were her instructors.
“It’s a little adjustment,” she said with a laugh. “When I was a student teacher (in Humboldt), one of my former teachers, Mr. Taylor, was there.”
As coworkers, Loflin had to consciously remind herself to address her former teacher by his first name, David.
Now, the Iola native must adjust to a building filled with her former instructors.
Loflin, 26, will teach math at Iola Middle School, a building she roamed as a student not so long ago.
“So far, it’s been great,” she said. “Everyone I’ve talked to, they don’t treat me like a kid. They treat me like an adult, a peer, a colleague.”
Loflin comes to IMS equipped with a lifelong appreciation of math, and a willingness to work with others.
“I’ve always been drawn to math,” she explained. “I’m good at it. It’s something I like.”
And math, she noted, has concrete answers.
“It’s always that answer,” Loflin said. “In English class, you may have a rule, but sometimes that changes.”
(Think I before E, except after C.)
“Math doesn’t have a lot of those.”
Loflin credits IHS instructor Diane Kauth.
“Mrs. Kauth taught us how to find the right process,” Loflin said. “If you have the right process, you’ll get the answer.”

LOFLIN began college studying business and accounting.
“I worked in an accounting firm for a while, and it really wasn’t me,” she said. “I couldn’t sit at that desk all day long.”
She changed her focus to elementary education, but found the subject matter too simple.
“I needed something to challenge me, so I switched to 6-12 math,” she said. “I love the subject.”
Following her student teaching stint in Humboldt, Loflin served briefly as a substitute teacher before being hired as a middle school math teacher in Yates Center.
There, one of her responsibilities was introducing algebra to eighth-graders, many of whom had never heard of an algebraic equation before.
“It was a challenge, because some of the students really weren’t ready for it, and here I am in my first year,” she said.
But by the time the second semester came around, those same students had begun to develop.
“They got to the ‘aha’ moment,” Loflin said. “I ran into a mother this last school year, and she told me her son was doing so much better in school. Those are the moments that make this all worth it.”
Math’s other appeal, Loflin contends, is that it encourages “outside the box” thinking.
“There are certain rules  you have to follow of course, but there are multiple ways to solve an equation. I enjoy seeing how students work through the process. As long as you get the same answer, it’s good.”

LOFLIN’S pursuits outside the classroom are limited, for now, because she remains a student. (She’s working toward her master’s degree.)
While at Yates Center, she served as an assistant basketball coach for the YCMS girls squad.
“I really got to know the girls in there, and they got to see a different side of me,” she said. “I like coaching. I’m more comfortable coaching basketball. Maybe not a head coach. I’m fine as an assistant.”

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