Eric Remlinger is a former history teacher at KIPP Columbus and is currently Director of College and Career Counseling at KIPP Forward.
What inspired you to get into teaching?
I’ve known since the first grade that I wanted to be a teacher. If you’d seen me in high school and college, you would’ve thought I was going into music education, because I played trumpet and violin and I was a student conductor in the marching band. Ultimately, I chose to teach history – and I’ve loved it.
At KIPP, I’ve always felt valued. I felt it right from the start, even during the interview process. Here, you’re not a cog in a wheel. You are trusted and supported. If you raise an issue, you’re not going to be shut down. It’s, “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. What’s our next step?” And then you are invited to be part of the solution. It’s collaborative.
What has kept you in education?
If your goal is to make the world a better place, there’s nowhere better to do it than in the classroom. I love my job, and honestly, I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t in education. Even though I’ve now transitioned to a leadership role outside the classroom, I’m still directly serving students. And I know that’s what I need to be doing with my career and my life. I’ve never gotten to the end of my workday and felt like what I did was not worthwhile. How many people can say that?
Who have you learned from?
I’ve been mentored by so many people. And I’ve learned something from every single school leader I’ve had at KIPP, whether that’s a hard skill or an attribute I want to project. I’ve learned when to slow down. How to look at the big picture while orienting a team toward the small goals. How to speak up when something isn’t right, and also be part of the solution. And, of course, I’ve learned so much from my students. They are, ultimately, always the best teachers.