In the fall of 2020, with COVID-19 in full swing, I was worried about my uncertain future coming into the new year. In a bout of anxiety, I sent my resume to just about any school that was looking for an English teacher… little did I know just how that impulse decision would be a blessing because one of those schools was Rockford Lutheran. I had never heard of RLS before, I barely recognized the name when they contacted me for an interview, but I was instantly struck with how kind and outgoing the community was.
My move to the Rockford area was a rushed affair and yet there the staff and families of RLS was with whatever help they could think of. Was I having troubles finding housing? Well there were half a dozen offers from half a dozen different families to let me sleep on a couch or in a basement until I could find a place to call my own. Was I missing something for my apartment? Advice rolled in on the best and least expensive places in the city to buy furniture, groceries, and everything else people could think of. As I began my time teaching, the support did not falter. In fact, the teachers and staff at Rockford Lutheran went above and beyond the call of duty to make me feel like a part of the community and, even more importantly, part of the family. Rockford Lutheran has helped this humble new teacher grow as both a professional and as a citizen of the world because they have shown me something that I had begun to doubt was common among people…total and unwavering support.
If this is how they help a new teacher just starting out in their midst, I honestly feel a little jealous for the kids who can work and live with this support structure of teachers and community. Recent parent teacher conferences have only solidified my notions of just how wonderfully the students here are supported. While my experience in the teaching profession is far from expansive, I have nonetheless seen more than my share of schools that do not support their students enough and a community that does the same but, luckily, Rockford Lutheran is not one of those unfortunate schools.
By Henry Burmester
Henry Burmester is the newest English teacher to join the Rockford Lutheran family in charge of Sixth-grade education. A recent graduate from Concordia University in Mequon Wisconsin, Henry (or Mr. B as he is called by his students) is a life-long child of God who relishes the opportunity to guide and instruct children in developing their mastery over the English language and helping them grow as Christians. Henry is a powerful force of positivity and creativity both inside and out of the classroom and, while lacking in experience, constantly grows and expands his bag of tricks in a nonstop effort to aid his students wherever possible. In his free time, however, Henry likes to spend his time mellowing out on a nice couch either reading a good book or writing what will be, he hopes, the next great American novel.
His favorite Bible verse is:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)