Nominated by teacher, Vesta Wynkoop:
I have often said, "I love teaching so much I would do it for free if I could.” Would I REALLY work solely for the love of teaching? Hmm, not 100% sure if I would actually do it, but I do know somebody that did. Ray Copelin is a highly sought after substitute in the Beaverton School District. He is a very tall, but soft spoken, man. One instantly becomes aware of how much he cares about children, as is evident by his caring, kind, generous approach and his never- ending patience when working with them. One of our 2nd grade teachers was on maternity leave from the end of September through mid-November. She requested that Mr. Copelin fill in for her while she was gone. Ray spent many hours of his own time, working with Amy to insure that when the time came for him to take over her class he would be well prepared. While covering her class, Ray came in early almost every morning and stayed late every night in order to prepare lessons and grade papers so he would be able to focus 100% on the students during school hours. But, here’s the most admirable action Ray took. Since he is a retired school teacher he has a limited number of days and or hours he can substitute. Unfortunately, after Ray had already worked several weeks for Amy it was discovered that he didn’t have enough hours left to work the entire time Amy was to be gone. When this was discovered, the first thing Ray did was think about the impact it would have on the students. He felt it would be a major disruption of the trusting and friendly learning environment that he hand the students worked so hard to create. Being the up standing and caring teacher that he is, he asked our principal if there was a way he could finish out the assignment without getting paid! After careful thought was given to the situation it was determined that he would not be allowed to finish the assignment for free and that another substitute would be brought in to take over where he left off. Then, Ray spoke with the substitute that was going to be finishing out the assignment and inquired if it would be okay for him to volunteer to work in the classroom, as that would make him available for any questions that might arise. Ray showed up every day, for over 2 weeks, and worked hard in order to help make sure the student learning was not affected negatively by having two different substitutes. Without a doubt, he is the most devoted teacher I have ever met. Ray Copelin is the epitome of what I strive to be as a teacher. It is my hope that this fine teacher will be recognized for the heart and soul he puts into teaching, by becoming K103’s Educator of the Week.
Congratulations Ray, from all of us at K103!
What inspired you to become an educator?
Great teachers I had in the past: Miss Mortenson in 7th grade inspired me to learn by her personal approach to teaching. She would ask each student questions that helped her to get to know us. She really got to know us and cared a lot about us. She also had a great sense of humor. My mom told me years later, "We used to have Miss Mortenson for dinner every night."
What do you like most about teaching?
Every day is different. It's never boring. There's always far more I want to accomplish but simply don't have time to do. It's always so fun to see the light bulb go off in a child's head and see growth throughout the year.
What has changed the most since you began your career in education?
One thing that has changed a great deal is technology. When I started teaching, papers given to students were often handwritten. Sometimes manual typewriters were used. If you were lucky, you were able to get your hands on an IBM Selectric typewriter. There were no calculators, computers, whiteboards, Promethean boards, or emails. Any writing that needed to be seen by the whole class was done on a chalkboard.
What would you like parents to know about your job?
1. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
2. We are trying our best to help your child be successful in school. We want the best for your child in life.
3. You have more influence on your child than we do. Your attitude towards school carries a lot of weight with your child. If you think education is very important, your child will think education is very important.
Share a favorite story about your years in education.
I was teaching fifth grade and had the students keeping journals. I was reading one of the entries and it said, "My parents were gone this weekend. It was a special time for them because they were having their wedding vows renude."