Teachers reminisce about finishing years


Allison Schneider, News Editor

    Leaving is never easy. This fact is even more prevalent for teachers who devote their lives to making sure the next generations are prepared to face the world ahead of them.

    Teachers get to interact with hundreds of students and their stories, and get to help shape them into better people.

   But what happens after is interesting…when a teacher leaves the profession forever.

   What will they miss, what will they be remembered for, and what do they hope to leave behind?

   Science teacher Mark Engel and English teacher Sandy Loucks have both chosen to face the world of retirement after many years of teaching.

   Mr. Engel has been doing this for 33 years, 31 of those at Burlington High School.

   Mr. Engel will miss two main things about Burlington: the students and teaching them. While those are what he will leave behind,  he will of course miss “harassing” them in the halls and shooting  his air cannon when he gets the chance.

   “I would like to think I would be remembered as a teacher who cared about the information the students were getting and, more importantly, that the information was presented in a fun way,” he said.

   Mrs. Loucks has been teaching for 36 years; all of those have been at Burlington.

    Mrs. Loucks thinks what she will miss most about English class is having “supreme and ultimate power” to create lessons. She also will miss dealing with “words” because she really likes words. “Everyone has a superpower; mine is words, along with pickle ball. I could beat everyone in pickle ball.”

   She believes what she will be remembered for  is all of her very passive-aggressive comments, sports photos, inside jokes, and especially her Homecoming skits. The newspaper staff will forever be affected by her constant bombarding of Murphy’s Law (what can go wrong will go wrong).

   Over the years that both teachers have taught, many things have changed within the school and themselves.

  Mrs. Loucks reminisced about when the tech lab used to be an outdoor courtyard…with cats.

    She also misses the old newspaper room and the couches in it; she is still quite upset about how the room was stolen from her by “the man.”

   Both educators are aware of the technological changes that have happened over the time that they have taught. “I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into each new technology, but I’ve figured it all out,” said Mrs. Loucks. “I remember when we typed the newspaper on a single computer and glued them onto dummy sheets.”

   Mr. Engel says all of his notes used to be written down on a chalkboard in his room.

   As for what the two will be doing after teaching, both are anything but done with activities.

   Mrs. Loucks will probably work part time at the Emporia Recreation Center or maybe at the Emporia Gazette.

   Mr. Engel has a top-secret job laid out for after here, though he dreams of becoming a top engineer at a boat manufacturing facility where he will make top-quality wake board boats for American families. The boats, of course, would be environmentally friendly.

   As these teachers look back on their careers, they got reflective.

   Mrs. Loucks pointed out that certain students bring a sparkle to the school, and, when they leave as seniors, they take that sparkle with them. She hopes that, as she leaves, she will leave a trail of sparkles behind  her.

   Mr. Engel’s reflection leaves a simple but impactful word for current and future students of Burlington High:  Try.

   A final staff member who does not anticipate teaching next year is Sam Samuelson.  Counting his time in the 90’s at Lebo-Waverly, he has been doing Spanish instruction for 22 years.

   He will miss his friends and many of his students.  What will they miss?

   “Stories about eating lizards, spiders, etc.  Some students who had the opportunity to travel with me because of their involvement in Spanish classes will also remember those travels for the rest of their lives.”

   His Master’s degree is in special education, but working with Spanish has been his lifelong passion.  He is glad he had the opportunity to teach them not to fear learning another language.

   The pictures in this story are from their first years teaching.