Retiring teacher reflects on technological changes throughout career
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – With the school year winding down, the La Crosse School District is saying goodbye to retiring teachers while saying hello to incoming teachers.
But like a good book, a good teacher is hard to let go.
After 29 years with the La Crosse school district, fifth grade teacher Debra Keller has decided to turn the page to retirement.
"It's bittersweet,” Keller said. “It's fun to think about starting a new chapter, but it's kind of sad to leave."
Over the years, the Northside Elementary teacher has seen her share of changes in technology and learning tools used in the curriculum.
"When we started, we didn't even have access to a telephone. Now we have computers and access to the internet and just access to almost any information now,” Keller said. “Now we have to pay attention almost to filtering."
That changes the way she teaches students.
"It's a tool. It's not everything. You think about a pencil as a tool, a computer is a tool,” Keller said.
It's a tool up and coming teachers have been trained to use while they were in school.
"I work with co-workers or other teachers who didn't grow up with computers or that technology and it's much more difficult for them to incorporate it into their classroom because they're not comfortable with it,” said Sarah Bradle, a third grade teacher at Northside Elementary.
This is her first year of teaching.
"Technology was a huge part of our education, incorporating that into education today, because it's such a huge part of our society,” Bradle added.
But she has taken a page or two of lessons from seasoned teachers, including Keller.
And before Keller leaves in June, she has a few words of advice: "Just enjoy it. Because there really is joy in everyday."
Retirement is not the end of her story. Just another chapter.
Keller's last day teacher is June 10, when the school year ends.
She plans to garden, travel and spend time with her grandchildren. But she'll also be volunteering in the new Northside Elementary so she can still surround herself with students.
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