Ms. Riddle: RCMS Student to RCMS Teacher


Ms. Lisa Riddle walks down the hallway at RCMS in 2001 as a student.

“That’s actually a little bit of an interesting story,” Ms. Lisa Riddle, a math teacher on the Yellow Jackets team, laughed when asked why she chose to come back to teach at her middle school.

Ms. Riddle attended Rachel Carson Middle School from the fall of 1999 through the spring of 2001 and began teaching at RCMS in the 2009-2010 school year. She was on the Crusaders team in seventh grade and the Stingrays team in eighth.

“[My favorite subject] wasn’t math—I liked math, but I really liked English,” she said. “I liked band, I took band both years, and I also really liked science too.”

According to Ms. Riddle, Rachel Carson Middle School has changed a lot since the turn of the 21st century.

“We have about twice as many students now. We had three teams in each grade. The hallways are a lot more crowded and we only had three minutes to get to class. That’s not feasible now.”

Another massive change has been the increase in technology use in recent years.

“Nobody had cell phones—they existed but nobody had them, and nobody had laptops,” said Ms. Riddle. “There were computer labs and we would use them occasionally.”

“There was this separation from school to home—any drama from throughout the day wouldn’t follow you home. The only way to continue the drama was to actually call someone on the phone. A few people had instant messaging, but again, that was on a desktop, and you had to both be on at the same time and it was usually just you and one other person,” she said. “So that’s different—we weren’t constantly connected to the internet all the time.”

Even so, some things have stayed the same. Three staff members who were at RCMS while Ms. Riddle was a student are still here: “Mr. Bickford—I didn’t have him as a teacher but I knew him through the musical. Mr. Treakle was an eighth-grade science teacher; Mr. Stokes was here as a history teacher but I didn’t have him.”

After leaving RCMS, Ms. Riddle attended Oakton High School.

“I can attest that your life doesn’t end if you don’t get into TJ,” she said. “I applied but I didn’t get in, but I’m very glad that I didn’t. I really liked Oakton and I made a really good group of new friends there.”

Ms. Riddle attended Swarthmore College after graduating from Oakton.

“There were two of us from Oakton and two kids from TJ, which was funny because it’s a really small school anyway.”

All in all, Ms. Riddle believes that attending RCMS helped shape her future.

“Carson was very formative in my desire to become a teacher,” she said. “You’ll talk to most adults and they’ll say, ‘Ugh, middle school, I hated middle school,’ but I really liked middle school. I felt like all my teachers cared about me and I had a good group of friends. That made me want to be able to provide that for other people and be a middle school teacher because I think middle schoolers are actually really fun!”