Beloved social studies teacher leaves teaching to become a therapist


Credit: Lexi Tuley

Rebecca Layton works at her desk on end of the year work. In her classes a research project, called the Capstone, takes the place of a final exam.

Lexi Tuley, Graphics Editor

Rebecca Layton, psychology, sociology and women’s studies teacher, has been a really important part of the school community during her 10 years working here.  But now, with her finishing her studies at Western Michigan University, she’s ready to move on from teaching.

Having taught for over a decade, Layton is ready to start the next part of life as a therapist. 

“I think it’s a big loss for Loy Norrix, but I think she’s going to have a whole new way of impacting people’s lives. I’m really happy for her,” said librarian and long time friend of Layton, John Kreider. “She’s gonna be an awesome therapist.”

Layton has acted as a symbol of safety for many students, opening her classroom to any who may need it. She has been an alternative place for those who can’t handle the volume and energy of pep rallies, an understanding person to talk to if you feel overwhelmed with work and an overall amazing example of kindness.

“She always made everyone feel really welcome,” said junior Miriam Verne.

Layton has a lot to look forward to in her career, saying that it’s going to be a calmer job that provides her with more flexibility. 

“But as I have been teaching psychology, as I’ve been working with teenagers, I’ve realized how much I enjoy the individual work, and I have a lot more flexibility and it’s much calmer,” Layton said.

Just because Layton is looking forward to her future as a therapist, that doesn’t mean she didn’t love her time teaching. 

“I like that I get to come in and talk about things that I think are interesting and that I get to hear y’alls perspective on things that I think are interesting, ” said Layton.

However, Layton has had issues with school.

“My issues are systemic. I have some different philosophies, and I think the overall school system has,”  Layton continued, “We all know how I feel about tests and like, standardized testing. I think that the schools need to have more flexibility, I think it needs to be less data-based.”

Schools have a lot of responsibilities when it comes to their students. Providing food, dental work and other services for many students. Layton thinks this is too much for a school to have to deal with. 

“That should all not be on the school, and I think when we’re all placing it on the school, everything gets bogged down and we can’t do school,” said Layton.  

Despite her problems with the school system, Layton appreciates what it’s done in her life. 

“I’ve met really great people, “ Layton said. “I’ve gotten to continuously learn and increase my education. I’ve had great relationships with people.”

Layton likes the aspects of her work that allow her to make a positive impact in people’s lives. 

“Most of the time it feels like I’m getting up and doing something valuable with my time,” said Layton.

Layton struggled in high school. “I was one of those students who was smart, like I could do the work — that was never the problem – but high school was really rough for me due to a lot of things were happening at the time,” Layton said.

Having had those experiences, Layton wanted to be able to help students who may be struggling themselves.

“You know that phrase ‘be an adult you needed as a kid’ I kind of thought that was a place [school and teaching] where I could kind of go in and provide multiple levels of good,” said Layton. 

The truth is, wherever Layton goes, she always wants to help people, and her efforts are consistently appreciated by those around her. A safe space for students and staff, Rebecca Layton will be greatly missed at Loy Norrix.

“I just think her presence just brings a sense of calm to a lot of people that’s going to be missed,” said Kreider. 

As excited as Layton is for her new job, she says there’s one thing she’ll miss.

 “Students. That’s, I think, that’s the only thing I’m really going to miss.”