If a teacher's career spans 35 years, and those teachers on average are assigned 25 students per year it comes out to about 875 pupils. Considering the different roles some have in schools, from high school teachers in specialized content areas like music or art, to counselors, bus drivers, food service employees, administrators, content area specialists; it is not at all a stretch to state that any individual educator will directly impact hundreds of young people over the course of a career.
During that short window of time, which is usually only a year or so, teachers come to know these students quite well. We get to know them, their families, and in many cases siblings when they come along and enter our sphere of influence. Then inevitably those youngsters move on to the next phase of life and a new batch of students come in to take their place. The speed of operation in schools is fast paced and at times hectic. Because of that educators don't get to spend a lot of time pondering whatever became of 'that particular student', or group of students. Yet in that fleeting moment the goal for the educator is to prepare students for the next thing in life; be it preparing kindergartners to be first graders, or seniors in high school entering the job force or going off to college. And in that microcosm of time our teachers are wholly and completely dedicated and committed to fulfilling that goal. Sadly, teachers oftentimes don't get to see the end result of their good work. In that brief window, they only know how a student performed on a test. If they mastered their content. If they can write an effective research paper or defend a theory. They are not privy to a view of the future for that child and are unaware of how that investment in time so long ago has paid off. Yet in the final analysis what really matters is what has become of them.
I wonder if those who work in schools can truly comprehend the impact they can (and do) have on students. Of your 875 students, how many do you remember? If you are like me, you may not remember them all. But I can tell you this: they probably remember you.
This afternoon we honor all our teachers for the work they have done in Hudson schools, and in particular what they have done for the students they currently work with, and for those they served long ago. For those reaching career milestones we say thank you and continue to look forward to your future contributions. For her work of 25 years in Hudson:
- Jennifer Owen-Kuhn, elementary educator and instructional coach
Today also marks and ending of sorts for those who are retiring. This year, we honor seven who represent a total combined 211 years of service to the Hudson Community School District. The institutional knowledge you take with you will never be replaced!
- Julie Anderson, vocal music--11 years
- Jody Bauer, elementary educator--24 years
- Brad Jensen, instrumental music--30 years
- Diane Schulz, elementary educator--35 years
- Julie Douglas, elementary educator--36 years
- Larry Griffith, transportation--37 years
- Melinda Huting, elementary educator--38 years
We congratulate you and wish you the very best in retirement. You have certainly earned it! And on behalf of the 875 or so students you touched during your career, thank you. There is no mistake that during that all too brief encounter many years ago you made an impact on them. I promise you they wouldn't have gotten to where they are today without your guidance.