The Ottumwa Courier

Education

May 2, 2013

Retiring teachers head toward new chapter in life

OTTUMWA — Cookies, hugs and a few tears marked the departure of 14 educators during an open house Wednesday.

Nurses, a custodian and other specialists who impact children through a kind word or helping them get to the right class joined teachers at Ottumwa High School. They were joined by family members and colleagues offering both congratulations and support: Teachers say retirement is bitter sweet.

There are positive and negative aspects to leaving the job.

“I will terribly miss my students and my staff I work with,” said Jan Koehn, a first-grade teacher with three decades in Ottumwa.

That was the number one regret cited by teachers.

“Kids have their own unique way of speaking,” said Judy Church, who has taught for more than 30 years. “I’ll miss that. I enjoyed being able to listen to them.”

A second-grade teacher, Church said she’ll be relieved, however not to suffer the self-imposed pressure of questioning her own decisions. She’d ask herself regularly whether what she had planned would allow her to be doing what was best for kids.

“I won’t miss that stress,” she said. “I wanted to make a difference in their lives.”

She’s always encouraged kids to do their best, and she hopes that pushing them to succeed won’t cause children to remember her as “a pushy old witch.”

Koehn said she’ll travel, visiting family around the country. When her husband retires, maybe they’ll travel farther. There’s another way she intends to relax, too.

“I’m going to take up quilting again. I’d been so busy,” she said. “I haven’t quilted in 12 years.”

School Superintendent Davis Eidahl and school board president Caroll Mitchell thanked the teachers and support staff Wednesday, and wished them the best in their retirement. Eidahl said their retirement is bittersweet for the school system, too. Between them, he said, the outgoing group represents 355 years of service to students in the Ottumwa school district.

Text Only
Education
  • 15-minutes.png A change at Evans

    OTTUMWA — You can get kids to memorize facts. But teaching them to think can take more time. Educational leaders told the Ottumwa school board that the school year that begins 2014 will shift Evans Middle School students from 45-minute periods to 60-

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT Agriculture Day color photo 2 -T -L -M Cardinal students celebrate Ag Day ELDON — Sometimes the best way to learn is to get out of the classroom and come face-to-face with things that you might not see every day. Students at Cardinal Elementary School got that chance Thursday during Ag Day. Every year, the Cardinal FFA and

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0418 OTT Joe Tafta color photo -L -T -M Pursuing opportunities

    OTTUMWA — Joe Tafta follows the rules. The Simpson College junior hopes to be a U.S. marshal one day, so he’s careful about what he says and does. But not always. On the afternoon of April 1, Tafta says, he nearly got booted out of Dunn Library for m

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Earth day color photo 1 -T -M Cargill celebrates Earth Day by educating ALBIA — In honor of Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, employees from Cargill Eddyville and Cargill Pork are visiting with students at Grant Elementary and Lincoln Center in Albia all this week. On Wednesday the Courier caught up with them as they went

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Carrying bookbags a balancing act OTTUMWA — Permission slips. Notes from teachers. School activity announcements, birthday invitations, report cards and homework to sign. Kids bring home a lot of stuff. But is it done fairly? The school board this week was asked by ranking members of

    April 16, 2014

  • Van Buren to share FFA with Harmony KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren Community School Board approved a recommendation from its administration to share the ag program with Harmony for the 2014-15 school year. The decision means that Van Buren students would travel to Harmony to receive ag instruct

    April 16, 2014

  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416 OTT Ron Oswalt mug -T School board member resigns

    OTTUMWA — As this week's school board meeting came to a close, the president read a letter from one of the members. Board President Carol Mitchell read that fellow board member Ron Oswalt was announcing his resignation from the Ottumwa Board of Educa

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0410 OTT picture Bracelets -M -T Caring Kids

    OTTUMWA — Five fourth-graders didn't need grownups to show them it feels good to help others. They found out firsthand. "I wanted to do a project with the bracelets I make. And it's better to help people than to just do a random project," Kennedy Hug

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0410 OTT Fairfield business students photo color Fairfield students proving to be future leaders

    FAIRFIELD — At Fairfield High School, students interested in making a career in a business-related field have the chance to join the Fairfield chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), a nonprofit organization that helps prepare them for

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National