A new school year is underway, which means it’s time for Rockin’ Jump Myrtle Beach to resume handing out its always popular Teacher of the Month award. Our first winner of the 2021-22 academic year is Rich Petricig, a third-grade teacher at Ocean Bay Elementary.
We were able to catch up with Rich for a Q&A and it was immediately obvious why he is so popular with his students. Enjoy getting to know Rockin’ Jump’s September Teacher of Month!
How long have you been a teacher (overall and along the Grand Strand)?
RP: I have been a teacher for seven years. I was born and raised in Homer City, Pennsylvania and attended (IUP) Indiana University of Pennsylvania. After long-term subbing for a year, I moved to Murrells Inlet in 2016 and have been here since.
How long have you been at your current school and what grade do you teach?
RP: I have been at Ocean Bay Elementary since 2016 and in the same 3rd grade classroom each year. I absolutely love this age group.
What led you into teaching and what continues to motivate you?
RP: I knew I wanted to be a teacher after my fifth-grade year in elementary school. I had my first male teacher, and he made a huge impact on my life with the connections he made in lessons and in personal stories. He also strived to distinguish life lessons throughout his teaching that made things more interesting. All of these examples are things I do, and they keep me motivated. I also love reconnecting with previous students and keeping in touch with the families to hear of their accomplishments after 3rd grade.
What was your reaction to winning the award?
RP: It was a complete surprise to me! I was totally shocked but honored to receive this award as I knew nothing about it. Teaching has changed a little bit within the last few years from the pandemic that we are still currently in. But I tell anyone who asks me, my students are still getting an authentic, rich education even if things look a little different. I accepted this award knowing I couldn’t have done it without the wonderful team and leadership that I am a part of at OBE. My job is to serve children and the families and to get noticed for that was a huge honor.
What was the reaction of your class?
RP: My class was ecstatic when we got the news of the award. Mrs. Schroyer passed out their 30-minute free pass and their eyes lit up with excitement!
Have you been to Rockin’ Jump before?
RP: I have not however, I plan to take my nephews once they come and visit next. They are 6 and 5 years old and I have heard many great things about this place. I have coworkers who shared their children have attended birthday parties etc. and everyone had a blast.
What do you find most rewarding about being a teacher?
RP: I find that touching each kid’s heart in some way is my ultimate goal each year. I can remember all of my favorite teachers growing up and I can still remember specific things we did in those classrooms or even a conversation we had that makes me remember them. Teaching the students new instruction is crucial but I think that making personal connections are the things that last a lifetime. I strive to make a positive impact on each student that steps foot into my classroom each year. That is what gives me the passion to be a dedicated teacher for my students, school and community at Ocean Bay.
Outside of the classroom, what are some of your interests?
RP: Growing up in Western Pennsylvania has made me fall in love with the outdoors. I am a huge Pittsburgh sports fan as I played a variety of sports my whole life. I enjoy playing golf, hunting, fishing, working out, going to the beach and hanging out with friends. I also have a 15-month-old golden retriever, Willow whom my wife and I love dearly.