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.

Our goal of the German Exchange was to explore history as well as modern life in Germany. It was to support our German language program at Rangeview.  We always spent time traveling the region and extended into France. Our trips to Strasbourg were always an Read more
This is a story that I haven't told often. It is in keeping with my goal to not appear on the six o'clock news as a teacher. The exchange that my daughter was a part of had many different adventures. You have already heard a Read more
This is Prom season so I have 3 songs from my Prom time in the 70s. First is Stairway to Heaven. Played at every dance but was impossible to dance to.  Taking Care of Business by BTO was a great dancing song with a lot Read more
I had a post about our first trip to Berlin earlier but I want to add a couple of details I didn't include in the first post. The unexploded bomb that delayed the train was just the beginning. We got to see the era of Read more
I have spent my career being at the forefront of technology I have used some great products over the years. PowerPoint is a case in point. I started using PowerPoint for MAC in the early 90s. It didn't start out as a Microsoft product but Read more
Leadership matters. For my CyberPatriot trip to the National Finals, we had a leader that had emerged three years earlier. Lucas Nicodemus was our leader on the team and ran a tight ship! Our goal from 2010 was to return and Lucas spent the next Read more
I try to avoid making promises because I don't like the idea of breaking them. Every now and then I make a promise and wait and hope that I can deliver. Our first year with CyberPatriot was successful because we made nationals. I tried to Read more
A couple of songs for this week. The first is a Rod Stewart song, Forever Young. It really speaks to how I view students. They will always be 17 in my classroom. No matter what they do I will always be there for them. The Read more
Our first year in CyberPatriot saw us push all of the rules. The competition started as an added piece for ROTC. It really hadn't considered the open division, so when they made it available to all schools, the rules had to be challenged. The first Read more
Emails have become extra work in this modern day of education. There was a time when the principal got all of the information from the district and anyone else and synthesize what we needed to know. They would make a weekly or daily bulletin that Read more
The escapades with my hair continue. A few years after the leg waxing incident, I decided to do another homecoming hair challenge. I knew that the legs were off-limits this time and so I went with shaving my head bald. The good news is that Read more
One of the fun activities in high school is the annual homecoming. As a teacher, I felt it was my responsibility to participate and show the students the value of school spirit. I mentioned the dress-up days previously but I want to highlight getting deeply Read more