EARLY — Early Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Kim Trompler has had plenty of experience watching quarterbacks.

Her son, Ryan, a senior, is the starting quarterback for the Early Longhorns varsity football team.

And when Trompler was in high school, her then-boyfriend, Dale, was a high school — and later college — quarterback. Dale is now her husband and the Longhorns offensive coordinator.

“It is kind of like deva vu,” Trompler said.

Trompler, who is in her 29th year of teaching, grew up in Bonham, where she remembers knowing Dale back in the fourth grade. They started dating as 14-year-old freshmen.

“I was shy … he was Mr. Popular and he always had a girlfriend,”  Trompler recalled. “I never even thought he would like me, so it’s kind of weird how we even got together.”

The family has been in Early for four years after coming here from Canadian, in the Texas Panhandle. In addition to Ryan, the Tromplers have an older son, Jarrod, who works as a software developer. Jarrod participated in athletics but it wasn’t his passion, his mother said.

Trompler has a simple explanation of what motivated her to become a teacher.

“I actually believe that it’s a calling,” Trompler said. “God just wanted me to be a teacher. I knew at a very young age.”

Trompler recalled being in high school and noticing if her fellow students were confused at a teacher’s explanation of a lesson.

Even though she already knew the answer, Trompler would find a way to elicit a better explanation.

“And I would watch their eyes,” Trompler said. “I even wanted to teach back then. It bothered me when I saw when kids didn’t get things.”

Trompler attended what was then known as East Texas State University, now Texas A&M in Commerce. Her first teaching job was in the Leonard ISD near her hometown of Bonham.

Early is her eighth school district in which to teach.

“Because my husband is a football coach, we’ve moved around a lot,” Trompler said. “I like small rural schools. I have taught at bigger districts but I prefer places like Early.

“You just feel more like a little community. You get to know all the parents and you know  pretty much all the faces in the school.”

Trompler said the most important detail about being a teacher is “to remember that you teach kids, not curriculum. You have to build relationships with the kids, and it doesn’t matter how difficult a child is.”

Some children come from “sad home lives and try for negative attention," Trompler said. “Once they like you and know you care about them, they’ll do anything for you. And the rest comes easy.”

Trompler said it’s exciting to watch her son play football, adding she was used to watching the quarterback position because of her husband.

“I don’t worry too much about Ryan making a mistake or anything like that,” she said. “I do worry about him getting hurt. And he did get hurt a few weeks back. It’s still not healed up yet. His ankle — he rolled it pretty bad.”

Since 1984, Trompler said, she’s missed only one Friday night game.

“So it cracks me up when the kids ask me ‘are you going to be at the game?’” Trompler said. “That’s like asking the pastor is he going to church. I will be at the game. That’s what I do.”

When asked what inspires her about her job, Trompler replied, “The kids. the kids. They’re happy to see you. They have a smile on their face. They leave you sweet little notes. They’re sad when you’re not here. You can be having the worst day and they’re always going to come up out of the blue … they’re just always so loving.

“They want you to be proud of them. They’re so excited to show you a book that they took a test on and made a good grade, or a paper that they wrote. And they’ll go home and do things and bring it to you or draw you little pictures.”