Sunday, June 5, 2016

Teaching......all this and a paycheck too?

One of my first students, I attended both Shelby's graduation and her wedding the past few years.  Shelby recently graduated with a degree in Veterinary Tech Science.

      One of the best parts of my chosen 2nd career was to be part of young peoples' lives, in my case teaching elementary school.  After 22 years in the Air Force and a few years getting my degree and credentials I spent another 20 years teaching.  This actually equated to 14 actual , 1 year credit for at least 135 days subbing each of 2 years, and 5 years of purchased retirement.  Of this I spent 2 years in 2nd grade, 11 years in 4th grade, and a hiatus year in 5th grade.  I did earn my Masters in Educational Technology and my Doctorate in Educational Psychology/Technology, both through Michigan State University.  I never left the classroom environment.  No matter....every inch, every ounce, every minute of time I invested in teaching paid me dividends a thousand fold.   Every teacher begins hoping to impact as many children as possible, but most do not realize just how much each of these children impacts our own lives as well. 
      Many of these children have grown up now and have or are near graduation, some have moved on to college, and some even have their own families.  They live as close as the local area and as far away as Tucson, Arizona.  Their life and career paths are as varied as the wind.  It is truly the cycle of life.  Even with retirement I am still able to attend Kalkaska High School Graduation each year it is always held the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend......nice.  Tradition here in NW Michigan includes an Open House for each graduate.  Most everyone is invited, but I consider myself honored for the invitations I receive each year.  The only year I have not attended was 2014 as Barb and I were in Alaska, but I did stop by to visit many of them before our departure.   
      This year was no exception.  We attended a half dozen celebrations as well as a wedding.  These took place during the initial weeks following commencement.  It is always fun to see many of the old gang, kids and adults alike.  Over the years I have made friends with many parents that I still associate with to this day.  The camaraderie is always warm and the food delicious.  Everybody loves 'catching up'.  This might just be the best part about living in a small town.  I proudly present some of the finest of Kalkaska High School Class of 2016: 

Spencer Hamilton
Will attend Northwest Michigan College pursuing a career in Forensic Science

Joe Miller
Taking a 'break year' to work before college

Garrett Diola
Will attend Central Michigan University pursuing a degree in Business/Entrepreneurship

Carter Mouton
Just entered an apprentice internship at Cooke Sheetmetal

Emilee Scott
Has been awarded an athletic scholarship to play volleyball at Rochester College

Sadie VanVliet
Will attend Michigan State University pursuing a degree in Equine Managment
      Since retirement I don't often get to see many of my past associates.  This year I was very lucky that Jim Grugett came back to visit some of his student alumni as well.  Jim and his wife Jenny have both moved on elsewhere in their teaching and administrative careers, but in my mind will always be some of the finest educators our town has ever known.  Jim brought his 12 year old daughter Brianna with him for this visit.  She enjoyed spending her overnight in our air conditioned RV sleeping with Bones the Wondercat to keep her snuggly while watching our big screen TV.  Sure was a treat to see them again.   
      I may only enjoy this for several more years, but I do savor each and every one of them as long as they last.  With all the turmoil, divisiveness, and social unrest we witness all too much in our daily lives it gives me hope that in some way these young men and women might enter the world with clear eyes and full hearts making positive, forward changes in society.  They did with me. 

"A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops"
                                            Henry Adams

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