Henrico’s Top Teachers – Linda Korpics

It didn’t take Linda Korpics long to figure out that she wanted to become a teacher.

Just a year or two of being a student.

By the time she was in second grade, Korpics realized how much she enjoyed helping other students “and seeing their happiness when they got the skill I was teaching,” she says. A fifth grade teacher reinforced her interest in the profession – and today Korpics is a second grade teacher marking her 30th year in the classroom.

But even after decades of experience, she says, it’s still a thrill to see children light up with the excitement of learning.

This year, Korpics has a child who has been shuffled from one school setting after another, with the result that she started the year struggling in all subjects. Her guardian told Korpics that the child was not very trusting and has always been reluctant to participate in class. But after months of one-on-one work, Korpics reports, the student has shown daily progress.

“Now her hand is up for every lesson,” she says, “even when it isn’t her reading group.”

Korpics recalls that at the beginning of the year she briefly put her arm around the student, but noticed that she tensed up so she resisted doing it again. Then, a month later, the child came running into the room “and gave me the biggest bear hug you can imagine,” she says.

“I teared up and told her that hug was the best present she could have given me,” says Korpics. “I have been teaching for 29 years and it is moments like those that always mean so much to me and show me why I teach.”  

A fellow teacher at Echo Lake who has observed Korpics at work says, “It gave me chill bumps to see Linda get so excited and overcome by emotion when talking about her students and their successes.”

Korpics’ colleague also noted that she works constantly at developing new and innovative ways to teach, such as creating “books” to accompany the science and social studies curriculum and interactive notebooks to reinforce math concepts.

A parent wrote that he, too, admires the way Korpics is able to customize her teaching methods according to each child’s needs, and that he believes her ability to individualize her teaching methods has been instrumental in his child’s school success -- not to mention whetting his child’s intellectual curiosity outside the classroom.

Korpics’ ability to combine cutting-edge techniques and technology with the experience and passion of a long-time educator, said the parent, help create a learning environment that is unmatched in its effectiveness.

“In an era of 21st-century learning,” wrote the parent, “it is a joy to know that 29 years of experience still counts.”

Among the former students that Korpics has enjoyed hearing from recently is one that was in her second grade class in 1983. “[She wrote] a letter,” says Korpics, “telling me that she is teaching in my old classroom in New York and that she went into teaching because of me.” 

Another former student who is now a senior came to visit Korpics recently and told her that he plans to study physical therapy. Korpics recalled that when she had him in her class, the student struggled in all areas and had behavior issues. “We had many lunches together,” she says, “to strengthen skills and to have discussions on behavior and consequences.”

Her now-grown-up student told Korpics that he had come to thank her.

“It is great to know that I have touched the lives of these kids in such a positive way,” says Korpics.

“[He told me that] I made a difference and that he wants to help others just like I helped him.  

“How awesome is that!”
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TOPS – Turning Out Playful Solutions for Teens with Diabetes – will meet from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Varina Library. Meet other teens living with diabetes while getting your hands busy with a craft. Build a healthy community through art, food and fun. For details, call 501-1980 or visit http://www.henricolibrary.org. Full text

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