Rebecca Debinski, new CCPS teacher, ready to teach the whole child
When Rebecca Debinski talks about education and children, her eyes shine, excitement radiating from her.
The last two weeks have been a whirlwind for the Carroll County native as she’s prepared to welcome her first class of students today. But she’s ready.
From the moment she stepped into her classroom on the week of Aug. 13, Debinski has worked to turn the space from bland and basic to a room that instantly welcomes — one full of color, plants, books and more.
On Tuesday, Sept. 4, Debinski will welcome 24 fifth-graders into a space where she hopes to help them grow and learn over the next nine months, a dream she’s held onto since she was about their age.
Recently, the 21-year-old Debinski said, her mom pulled out boxes of her old school work from grade school through college.
This year, Debinski will begin her teaching career at Westminster Elementary School. As a fifth-grade educator at WES, she will teach every subject from math to science to English language arts and social studies.
Debinski is excited and said she feels prepared to tackle all of the subjects because she had practicum internships throughout the county that helped prepare her.
"I know it'll be a lot of lesson planning, but I am ready,” she said.
In working for Carroll County Public Schools, Debinski will give back to the system that raised her — she began at Piney Ridge Elementary School, then attended Sykesville Middle School and finally graduated from Century High School before heading to McDaniel College in Westminster.
In high school, Debinski said she was involved in the Early Childhood Education completer program.
“When I came to McDaniel, I knew that was something I wanted to continue and pursue,” she said. "I feel confident this is where I’m supposed to be.”
Debinski spent her time in Carroll County Public Schools extremely involved, starting in elementary school with activities like chorus. Come middle school, she was in SHOUT — Students Helping Others Understand Themselves — a group that focused on service learning, she said. Debinski participated in sports while in high school, from cross country to track and even cheerleading for one season. She was also involved in Leo Club, another service-oriented organization.
By the time she came to college, Debinksi was in the Global Fellows Program, "which allows students to develop intercultural competence by attending different global events and learning about different cultures and communication between cultures,” she said. She also ran track and cross country in college, and was involved in the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
Debinski majored in Spanish and minored in elementary education, and even though she was heavily involved, still managed to earn a 4.0 GPA. She graduated summa cum laude and a College Scholar with departmental honors in Spanish, according to McDaniel College.
Upon graduation, she received the Argonaut Award, the Maria Leonard Senior Book Award, The Frank and Margaret Malone Award for Excellence in a Foreign Language and The Michael and Polly Beaver Award for Excellence in Education.
While Robin Townsend, coordinator of teacher professional development at McDaniel said she didn’t teach Debinski until later in her time in the program, she knew right away when she met Debinski as a sophomore that she’d go on to do great things.
“I met her and was immediately impressed by this young woman,” Townsend said. “She is probably one of the brightest, the most well-rounded and then, on top of it, one of the kindest people I have ever met.”
Debinski “immediately” had an affinity for children in the classroom, Townsend said.
And from the very beginning, Townsend said Debinski was focused and driven.
“She knew what she wanted to do and was very intent on reaching that goal,” she said.
Whatever Debinski did, it was going to be done well, in a timely manner and with the best interest of whatever group she was working with, Townsend added.
Debinski knows this next year will be busy, and said time management is something she knows she’ll need to work on. But she’s excited, perhaps most to share her passion for learning with her class.
"I am most looking forward to sharing my love of learning with students because I love to learn and I hope students love to learn, and I want them to experience first-hand and to think for themselves that learning is fun and reading is wonderful and that what we're doing is relevant to their lives,” she said.
Debinski also said she’s looking forward to working with the students on a social and emotional level.
“I want to know that I have taught the students something and that they have learned something, whether that is how to multiply or divide fractions, or whether that is a character trait or the importance of being respectful or being kind or being perseverant.”