As the school year comes to an end, students will be moving on to a new grade, a new building or even a new chapter in their lives as they graduate from high school.
But students are not the only ones making a move. For several Farmington teachers, May will not only bring the end of another school year, but will bring an end to a career as they make the move from teacher to retired teacher.
For Stacey Springstead, a pre-K teacher at Truman Learning Center, the last day of school will be the end of a 24-year career as an educator and the beginning of a career as a full-time grandmother and retired teacher.
“I’m sure I will miss some of it, especially my coworkers,” Springstead said. “But the closer I get to retirement, the more I think I’m ready to retire.”
Over the last 24 years, Springstead has taught students at several different levels in two different districts. For her first four years, the retiring teacher taught for Bismarck and for the next 20 years, she taught for Farmington.
A pre-K teacher for the last seven or eight years, Springstead has also taught grades fifth, fourth, third and second, as well as remedial reading.
“I really liked teaching them all,” Springstead said. “I like the challenge, so I like to switch grades every so often. It’s like getting a new job because every class is different.”
As a pre-K teacher, Springstead teaches two separate classes – one in the morning and one in the afternoon with both classes having 16 students in each.
“Every day is unique,” Springstead said. “But I do like teaching this grade a lot.”
Over the last 24 years, Springstead has seen a lot of changing both in the size of the district and the teaching philosophy of the industry.
“When I started with Farmington, I was at Lincoln Intermediate when it was brand new,” Springstead said. “Then I went to Roosevelt right after it was built and now I’m here at Truman Learning Center.”
In addition to watching the district grow, Springstead has seen education change during the course of her tenure with the district.
“Teaching is a lot more test driven now,” Springstead said. “When I first started teaching, you could be more spontaneous and creative.”
Over Springstead’s career, she has taught more students than she cares to count, but now she is starting to teach her former students’ children.
“I’m starting to have the children of the student I had when I first started teaching fifth grade,” Springstead said. “The parents will ask me if I remember them.”
When the school year ends and Springstead boxes up her belongings, returns her keys and checks out for the final time, she may no longer be in charge of 32 children, but she will be still teaching.
“Once I retire, I plan on watching my new granddaughter,” Springstead said. “Then I’ll go from there, I might do something later on.”
Editor’s note: Retiring staff from the Farmington R-7 District will be featured in coming weeks.
Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at firstname.lastname@example.org