Her teaching career started 43 years ago, but Dr. Cindy Boettcher’s love for teaching started long before that.
When she was just 4 years old, Dr. Boettcher put on her teaching hat. She would stand in front of a chalkboard she had at home and teach her younger sister. When she started school, she would convince the teachers to give her leftover papers to bring home and grade.
“I’ve always loved school. I went to college out of high school wanting to be nothing but a teacher. I have truly loved it every step of the way.”
That love and passion led her to Texas A&M in 1973 to pursue her master’s degree in educational psychology and again in 1995 to pursue her doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction. She graduated in December 1998 and was asked to become a faculty member teaching reading classes. Since then, Dr. Boettcher has worked in the academic advising office and also served as associate department head, assistant department head and clinical professor of reading education.
“The whole time I’ve been here I’ve always taught. I couldn’t give up teaching – that was my first love.”
Her second love came in 2005 when she took a group of 30 students on her first study abroad trip to England, Switzerland and France. Her students worked in the International Baccalaureate Schools for two weeks. Since that first trip, she has taken hundreds of students on more than 15 trips around the world, opening the world to a lot of students for the first time.
“People think study abroad is so glamorous, but it’s a lot of hard work. I feel like it has changed students’ lives to be able to go abroad and interact with other cultures.”
But perhaps Dr. Boettcher’s greatest accomplishment is her time with the Lohman Learning Community. In 2002, Dr. Boettcher was asked to take over the newly created learning community. During her first year, she helped 28 freshmen navigate their first year at Texas A&M.
"I can’t think of anybody better to have done it who would take it and give it the time and the energy to develop it to what it is now. The learning community has helped hundreds of young people who might have otherwise gone home,” explained Carolyn Lohman, the generous donor who funded the learning community. “I love her passion for young people and for quality teaching. She has hope in everyone. I can’t think of any qualities about her that are not exactly what you would want for a teacher. If we could just clone Cindy, our whole school system would be a lot better off.”
As Dr. Boettcher hands over the Lohman Learning Community to Dr. Emily Cantrell, she is taking a look back on her time with the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture and the students that have impacted her as much as she has impacted them.
“I really think getting to know and interact with students is what I’m most proud of. I have truly loved my students. I have changed the lives of some of my students – and this has been the best part of my career from pre-school through college. I’ve won all kinds of awards but do they mean anything? No. It’s the long-lasting relationships and seeing students go on to make something of themselves that makes me proud.”