We selected Mr. Ritter as our Substitute Teacher of the Month for October because he is a true rockstar. Butch is not only well loved by staff and students at all the schools within his district, but he has a love for teaching and caring for students that radiates from his smile at every assignment he fulfills. Butch is super flexible and understanding in times when his assignment may change—he just wants to help and make sure the students have a successful day of learning and are well cared for. His positive and calm attitude is admirable! We appreciate all you do, Butch!
My wife, Cathy and I have three sons, three daughters in-law, and five incredible grandchildren. She and I live in Baldwin City, Kansas, where we are retired. Baldwin City is where we chose to live after concluding 47 years as a United Methodist minister and because our grandchildren are within a 30-minute circle. We lov
ed living here twenty-five years ago and came back. I am the son of a family practice doctor and a surgical nurse who demonstrated daily what it meant to live out a “calling”. I graduated from Grants (NM) High School, a diverse student body composed of students from the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos, a Hispanic heritage population and Anglos, many of whom came from the lead and zinc mines of MO and KS. and the coal mines of West Virginia to find work in the newly opened uranium mines. While I can look back and see blind spots we had, the richness of my development in that community has been invaluable. I am a graduate of McMurry University in Abilene, Texas (Baker University without trees) and Saint Paul School of Theology.
Why did you become a substitute teacher?
I value education, respect teachers and school staff, and, selfishly, in retirement I was searching for a way to contribute to the common good. Above all that, there were two grandchildren bugging me to be a sub. Honestly, I like young people. I like talking to them, teaching and learning from them.
What are some of the most memorable experiences of substitute teaching?
Boy in kindergarten: “Mr. Butch, we’re going on a field trip tomorrow! I’ve never been on a field trip.
We’re going to the bakery. I sure hope they have a roller coaster.”
Girl next to him: “You’re too little to ride the roller coaster!”
Me to crestfallen boy: “Buddy, don’t you worry. You are going to love the bakery.”
Boy: “Really, Mr. Butch?”
Me: “I promise.”
There’s Science and Calculus one day followed by, “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” the next. It’s someone whose heart is broken followed immediately by another person thrilled by a C+. It’s
helping with a project on geothermal energy and learning why Greenland is named Greenland, and Iceland is Iceland.
Memorable experiences? Walk in the schoolhouse door with no idea what your day will be like. Each hour is a memorable experience.
What advice would you give substitute teachers to have a successful day?
A. Teachers, for some reason, tend to have a class routine that they expect you to follow. Try to
B. Be patient. Be calm. Be kind, even to the hard ones.
C. There are plenty of dream crushers out there. Don’t be one. You will love the bakery. I promise.