“I knew coming out of high school and college I would never take a job that was working with people, and certainly not with kids,” said Tim Rinker, a math teacher at Naperville North.
But a look through his classroom tells a different story.
It’s filled with 20 years of memories teaching math at Naperville North High School.
Quite a different atmosphere than his first job.
“For 20 years I worked at Bell Labs designing systems and software. And things started to get a lot less fun there. And at the time I was teaching scuba diving, primarily to teenagers,” said Rinker.
Those scuba diving days working with teens inspired Rinker to become a teacher.
The Career Change
At the age of 41 he earned his certification and got a position in Naperville North’s Math Department. Two short years later he set up shop in Room 269 and hasn’t moved classrooms since.
“I loved it from day one and so I kind of knew that I would probably stick it out until it was time to retire,” he said. “I already know that I’ll miss being around the kids. The energy – each day is different. You can’t really predict what’s going to happen and that’s kind of neat. I’m definitely not going to miss grading quizzes or tests.”
It was a career path that provided plenty of surprises.
“A misconception [is] that teaching is an 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. easy job, summers off sort of thing. I put in more hours now than I did in the engineering world,” said Rinker.
Reflecting on 20 Years
Rinker says as he wraps up his final school year, he still has plans to return to volunteer.
But it wasn’t difficult for Rinker to calculate that teaching was right for him.
“I think it’s the greatest amusement park ride ever. It’s just phenomenal,” he added.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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