The Amazing People of Wellsprings
A year long series
This newsletter's focus:
Bob Schlichting, teacher at Wellsprings since 2001.
Interviewed by Chris Meeker (parent at school).
Bob Schlichting has a B.S. in Special Education K-12 and Secondary Psychology with a minor in Sociology/Anthropology. For four-plus years he worked at Aerie Academy as headmaster, counselor, and instructor. Prior to that, Bob worked in Lewiston, Idaho, at Northwest Children's Home as a Special Education instructor dealing with socially and emotionally disturbed children. Bob has been teaching Math, Psychology, Human Sexuality, Music History, and other classes at Wellsprings since the fall of 2001.
I had the pleasure of spending some time with Bob recently to find out what keeps this guy going! What fuels Bob’s passion for educating, helping, and wanting the best for each student?
In turns out that Bob’s interest in helping others started when he was young.
Bob’s mother ran a daycare and Bob, at the age of ten, took care of some of the kids. And when his mom was having challenging times Bob took care of her, as well. Now many children would have crumbled under this strain but for Bob he dug deep and in the process ended up increasing his empathy for others.
And this is where the power of school came in for Bob. School ended up being Bob’s sanctuary away from home. Fortunately, he was gifted athletically and did well socially so the public school system he attended worked relatively well for him. But growing up on the beach in San Luis Obispo, CA, Bob watched as his friends who were skateboarders, surfers, and musicians were not supported by the school system.
All of this has led Bob to where he is today. He believes that everyone should be able to get a strong education which in turn leads to a stronger society. And he practices what he preaches.
What are some ways to provide students a strong education? Here are some of Bob’s thoughts:
- First of all create a sanctuary. Bob feels that Wellsprings is indeed a sanctuary for all the students with caring people, good food, and a safe, healthy community. And for the students, as it is for all of us, being a part of such a community is critical for our development.
- Let students know that they can rise above their challenges. They don’t have to like what may have happened to them but they don’t have to let these experiences define them. And he uses himself as an example.
- Realize that you can be intelligent and still be cool. You can be different than others. Indeed we are all different from each other.
- Help students reflect and grow. Let them know that they are all right. We all make mistakes and we can all forgive.
- Teach that time is precious and that you get out of life what you put in to it. Don’t delay working towards what you want. Figure out some ways to do it now.
Spending time with Bob for this article was wonderful. He enjoys a simple life, valuing others, and teaching others. I learned a lot from being with him. And I learned yet again how lucky indeed we are to have Bob teaching so many students at Wellsprings. Thank you, Bob!