Please allow me to introduce myself as Syd Molenkamp, a sixth-year, fifth-grade teacher at the Rhoades School. I feel very fortunate to work with such wonderful children, parents, and staff who make up this friendly and productive community. This is an ideal environment to continue my twenty-three years in the classroom!
I began my career at the age of sixteen teaching swim lessons at a neighborhood pool in northern California. As I began to perfect my instruction to see such positive gains in the swimming abilities of my students, I became hooked on creating improvement in others. After a few years, I went to college at San Diego State University where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in English with a specialization in teaching and instruction. In nearby El Cajon, I taught students to read, applying the theoretical lessons of college and the practical lessons learned in the swimming pool.
Shortly after graduation, I moved back to the Bay Area where I worked for Challenger School as a fourth and fifth-grade teacher, which I happily did for the next eight years. Later, I was asked to work for the middle school where I taught all of the literature to very small sixth through eighth-grade classes in San Jose. Challenger was an excellent starting point for providing academic structure to a growing teacher.
My next adventure began at Stratford school, again working in the middle school. I taught math and language arts for five years and left as the lead eighth-grade literature instructor. The freedom, creativity, and STEM-oriented platform of Stratford created a wonderful teaching and learning environment, mirroring the innovation and spirit of the Silicon Valley.
Returning to San Diego was the only thing missing. So, five years ago, when a position opened at Rhoades to teach fifth grade, I enthusiastically took it! These days, I’m able to enjoy the beauty of the Rhoades School, the sun of San Diego, and share it all with my wonderful family. In our free time, we enjoy the beach together. My son is pursuing a career in firefighting while going to college and playing tennis for the University of St. Katherine’s, and my wife is a principal for a Stratford School in Mission Viejo. It’s been a terrific journey so far, and I am glad to have you be a part of it…