Hammond resident Jason Rybinski enjoys reinforcing the values of honesty and respect in his fourth- and fifth-grade classroom at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Hammond.
A teacher for 19 years, Rybinski graduated in 1996 with and elementary education degree from Indiana University. He went on to receive a master's in elementary education in 2002 and a master's in language education in 2012.
“My classroom is primarily an English Language Learner classroom, where the majority of students have English as their new/second language. I teach all elementary academic subjects,” he said.
“Fourth and fifth grades have always been my elementary grade choices because they have open imaginations, the ability to begin thinking abstractly, and still have the open minds to achieve and challenge their own thinking,” Rybinski added.
Rybinski is best known for his ability to establish trust and respect in the classroom.
“All students use 'ma’am,' 'sir,' 'thank you' and 'please.' When the respect is reciprocated, it becomes natural," Rybinski said. "Thus, students learn that their opinions matter, each idea is included, and they all have a voice that will be heard.”
“With so many social pressures that my students face, I am constantly talking to and discussing with my students the positives and negatives of the daily pressures they face.”
“These interactions about school, life, issues, positives, negatives, and their future always keep me busy finding creative and relevant ways to connect the content being learned in the classroom to their own daily lives,” he added.
In addition to his teaching duties, Rybinski serves as an adjunct instructor in the School of Education at Indiana University Northwest and coaches volleyball and Science Olympiad teams at his school.
He is employed as a swim instructor and lifeguard at the Hammond YMCA, and coaches elementary and middle school intramural swimming at several schools.
“With coaching, you get to see students in a new way, and these coaching opportunities allow students to see me as a role model and not just as a teacher,” Rybinski said.