What Parents and Students are Saying
It was the summer of 2019 that we received the long awaited teacher assignments in the mail. I remember my son Joey’s excitement when he opened the letter and saw Mr. Bertsch’s name listed on the letter. We had heard many great things about Mr. Bertsch and his teaching style, but could not wait to see for ourselves!
Well, were we in for a treat! Mr. Bertsch exceeded all of our expectations and more. Not only did he teach our students the “basics” of 1 st grade, but he taught them about compassion, understanding, and talking things out with their peers. He taught these things in many forms, but the one way that has stuck with Joey is Mr. Bertsch’s love of music. He would incorporate music daily, with songs, poems, and just easy humming techniques. This was such a nice break from the “norm” and the kids truly enjoyed it and could not be more in tune to him.
Unfortunately our year with Mr. Bertsch was cut short due to the pandemic. We were devastated that we would no longer have in person learning with Mr. Bertsch, but to no avail he made remote learning just as exciting as in person! The learning, the singing, the games, the communication, it NEVER wavered just because we were behind a screen. It is very fitting that his new venture is called Kindness Ripples. If you don’t know the meaning of it yet, just wait, you are in for a special treat. Joey still spreads ripples daily and is always reminded of Mr. Bertsch when he does so. We are so grateful for the lifelong impact Mr. Bertsch has on Joey, its educators like him that don’t around too often.
I worked as a paraprofessional with Mr. Bertsch during Covid while being remote. I just want to say that he is a fantastic teacher. The growth I saw in students that year was tremendous. Even being remote he was able to engage with students and get them excited about learning. He is the kind of teacher I would want for my daughter to have. He makes learning fun, the way it should be.
I had Mr. Bertsch when I was in first grade. He always kept the class environment creative and uplifting. He often did things to make learning fun for all students and always kept our attention. One of my favorite memories of his classroom was that he had a puppet named Mr. Einstein that told us stories. His teaching approach let our knowledge grow while still enjoying what we were doing. For instance, he incorporated science song videos to help us learn and even now, going into my junior year in high school, I can still remember them. Overall Mr. Bertsch created a positive environment where mistakes were often lessons and not frowned upon or negatively looked upon as some other teachers would. I felt it was a comfortable, safe environment to be myself and as creative as I wanted to be.
As I write this, I have a big smile on my face. I am remembering my days of volunteering in the classroom of Mr. Gregory Bertsch’s first grade class. I had retired from working as a secretary at our local middle school. Before that, I had spent 16 years at the elementary school where Mr. Bertsch worked. I told him that I had never spent time on the other side of the counter and that I wanted to see how it goes. My granddaughter was in his class so he asked if I wanted to come spend time in his room which I did. I was amazed at the culture of his room. He interacted so well with the students, always willing to review and not move on till what he was trying to teach them was accepted. He had taught the students the mottos of his class and what he expected from them. The students knew their schedule and exactly when it was time to transition to another subject.
Greg taught the students all about kindness ripples and when they sat in circle time to share or discuss, if one of the students commented on something in a good way, they do the signal for kindness ripples. I would go in each year around a holiday and do arts and crafts with the class. To this day, I still have samples of them all. Not only did I find a wonderful, caring and empathetic teacher, I found a great friend. I did this volunteer for at least 5 years and truly miss it and Mr. Bertsch.
I wish him and his new endeavor the utmost success. Anyone who has the pleasure of working with him or has a student working with him they are and will be blessed.
Mrs. Julie Markiewicz
“My son was in Mr. Bertsch’s first grade classroom and I worked as a substitute teacher for many years at the same school. Mr. Bertsch has one of the most thorough understandings of social emotional teaching that I have witnessed. He is able to connect with students as people, not just as students. His teachings around kindness ripples and how we are all part of a bigger world really resonate with children. Social responsibility is something that all students should be exposed to, and he definitely did that! Mr. Bertsch would also use music, puppets, and had a great reading style that entertained not only the students, but any adults that happened to be in the room!
If you want your child to have a teacher who will not only give them what they need academically, but help shape them into little kindness warriors, then look no further!”
My favorite thing about you is the way you handle things. You are kind and patient, two major qualities we all need a little more of in this world. You not only teach math and reading but you also teach about life, feelings and positivity and so much more. I’m a big fan of yours Mr Bertsch. Thank you so much for all you do for us.
Thank you so much for helping us with the kids. Thank you for all the wisdom you shared with the kids. Thank you so much for all the advices you gave me. My family and I appreciate all your hard work. Enjoy the summer!
From the Rodriguez Family
We cannot thank you enough for sharing your gift with our children, and our family. Our girls light up like a Christmas tree when class begins and they see your face. The way in which you coach, guide, challenge and engage these kiddos is incredible to witness. It does not go unnoticed how much energy and work you put into each and every session. Thank you for leaving a legacy with our girls, and certainly all of your students. We believe Kindness Ripples will change the world.
Enjoy your summer – you certainly deserve it!
Holly, Chip, Charley & Penelope
Although I have been in teacher education for 20 years, and I have met many exceptional educators, Greg Bertsch has always stood out to me as one of the absolute best. I have often said to him, “I wish you could be my daughter’s teacher.” The beauty of Kindness Ripples is that now Greg can be that truly wonderful, knowledgeable, compassionate teacher you want for your child. I wasn’t surprised when I heard that Greg named his organization Kindness Ripples, because he has consistently lived his life and taught all of his lessons with that premise in mind. Greg Bertsch teaches in a way that illustrates how he wants to make a difference in this world, and he shows his students how to be empathetic and engaged in their approaches to academics, and to the globe. With an advanced degree in literacy, Greg is able to support students in ways that foster their on-going independence in reading and writing, in ways that infuse the entire curriculum. If you want a transformative, creative, socially-just teacher for your child, you will love Greg Bertsch.
Dr. Christine Woodcock,
Author of Uniting the Science of Reading and Balanced Literacy with Social Justice
It was an honor, and a pleasure, for my son to have Mr. Bertsch for a first grade teacher during the 2020/2021 academic school year. Mr. Bertsch was always compassionate, and at the same time, passionate about doing his best to balance a very new and difficult remote learning environment. It had been said… ”remote learning may not be the best scenario for many students”. Mr. B embraced this challenge. His hard work and dedication proved that there was a way to keep his students focused. He made things fun and interesting resulting in a successful and educational school year. Not only did Mr. B accomplish these goals, he taught his students to always be kind to others. He referred to this as, “ kindness ripples”. We continue to use this in our home on a daily basis. My son will always remember to spread kindness through his school years and into his adult life. Owen always says “Mr. B will always be his Favorite teacher”.