Retirement Blog 2022 – 2023 School Year

A story for every student contact day during my last year and a weekly musical interlude!

I am retiring at the end of the 2022-2023 year. This blog will be a retrospective and a celebration of the things I have been a part of for the last 30 years. This is in no way intended to be melancholy or a journal of grievances. It is a celebration of the joy a teacher sees, hears, and feels over the time of a career. I will try not to preach and hope to encourage teachers and students to enjoy the time they have together. I can speak from experience that they are memories that will last a lifetime. These are my recollections and come from my perspective and I do not imply the thoughts or deeds of anyone else. As with any retrospective, I might have things a little off but I hope to offend no one or group as I undertake this adventure.

Teaching is a calling that demands a great deal from those that undertake the role of a teacher. The important thing to remember is that it is critical to look around and take all of it in as you pass through the lives of thousands of students. If someone takes on that role with anything less than the belief that it is a crusade, they do a disservice to their students and themselves. If I give the impression that this is a sacred path to walk, I will have been successful. I said in an interview in 1994 that “I go home every night exhausted but I can’t wait to get up and get to school the next day.” I have the same philosophy and beliefs today. I regularly tell students that I don’t need an alarm clock because I wake up before it goes off so that I can get to work.

I plan on having a great deal of fun with this and I encourage you to come back often and follow the escapades that I have been a party to for 30 years. I hope it will bring you laughs, tears, and joy. I want to share with everyone the value of this profession. I hear complaints and frustration with the world outside of education and I understand and sometimes have the same feelings. If I focused on these feelings I would not have enjoyed the 30-year ride. Life may not be fair but I do believe it is balanced. Your outlook is determined by the side of the ledger you choose to focus on. I choose to focus on the great, the laughter, and even the sadness that comes with working with students.

The last 30 years have been my crusade and the only fear I have is that I will not be able to continue the crusade after retiring. The time has come to move into a different phase of my crusade and let those behind me pick up the mantle and go forward. Just to be clear, over the 177 class days that I will post, I will name names and places! I will not embarrass anyone but I think t is important to the story that people know how important they have been to me. There are a few people that are worth mentioning specifically because they have had a huge impact as mentors and students. I will not list everyone because of space but I do want to mention a few people that have been inspirations above and beyond. I was recently asked in an in-service about what inspires me and without hesitation, I said that it was my students. In about year 3 of teaching, I discovered that if I was attentive that I could learn as much from students as they learned from me.

A short list of students and teachers that have inspired my journey. Please remember that this is not comprehensive and if I put the full list, it would be thousands of people long. Teachers and Educators in no particular order: Barb Smith, Cheryl Lico, Katherine Kelley, Debbie Backus, Debbie Gerkin, Susan DeCamp, Cathy Stanforth, Mrs. Truman, Mary Lou Midcap, Dorothy Carter, Marc Stine, Tammy Strouse, Sandy Scott, Ingrid Franklin, Rob Shurich, Mike Hamilton, Phil Underland, Jim Gochenour, James Laguana, Gwynn Moore, and Lisa Grosz. Students in no particular order: Lucas N, Leann W, Andres Q, Cassie M, Nabil D, Katie L, Adobe A, Sam N, Michelle H, Nathan B, Zach S,  Selena G, Chris K, and thousands more.  The most important inspiration as a teacher is my wife Dawn and as a student my daughter Kaila. Dawn has been teaching longer than I have and I can only hope to have half the compassion and love for students that she does. Kaila moved out of our house to go to the University of Wyoming and never came back. After graduation, she found a home at UW and has been an advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and has become a forceful educator in her own right.

Sharing rooms with others is sometimes challenging. It requires patience, compassion, and consideration. When I started I was in a year-round school and so 4 of us shared three rooms.  You were on track for 9 and off for three. It was even better for Read more
I taught in a year-round school so we started in the middle of July. As you might expect the temperature was in the upper 90s for a lot of the first month of school. We had a protocol for students that may get hot. Step Read more
A hot day in July 1993 was my first day as a teacher in my own classroom. I was teaching at Montview Elementary in Aurora, Colorado. It was a year-round school in the northern part of the city. It was the oldest portion of the Read more
Monday June 15th found us in Strasbourg, France. It is a unique town on the Rhine River and has alternated between France and Germany for centuries. Again we had the chance to ride the trains into France. It was a short hop and didn’t take Read more
I am not Catholic but I coach baseball at a Catholic high school. I have discovered many traditions that I like from the athletes and the school but there is one that I have shared with them. Vespers is traditional nightly prayers or devotions around Read more
We were given the question at an in-service about the day that we wanted to quit teaching. Every teacher has them and we were asked to keep this private and think about how that might also apply to students and how they feel about school. Read more
There’s a world where I can go And tell my secrets to We grew up with the threat of being sent to our rooms. Even with the threat of our rooms, we used the time as a way to be angry, happy, lovesick, sad, hopeful, Read more
Mr. Price Owen, who was my History teacher, loved his opaque projector at Lakewood High School in the 1970s. I enjoyed it when he would put something on there and we would all squint and try to read the information from a book or document. Read more