Why I teach: Part II

Veteran teachers share passion and wisdom

Editor’s note: This is a two part series focusing on why teachers chose their profession.

Many students take their teachers for granted, but they are there, and have been there to help students through their time in high school. Most teachers are more available to students for help than students give them credit for. According to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, over 50 percent of the nation’s teachers and principals coming from the Baby Boomer generation, our nation stands to lose a lot of educators soon. Some teachers have been doing this for years, offering sage advice to those willing to listen. OHS is home to some of these teachers, to a huge array of individuals with varying amounts of experience.

For those who have been teaching the longest, OHS can become a second home for them. Those who once found the passion for education within them at a young age, continue to feel that passion for teaching as time crawls on. For health teacher Ann Christensen, the initial reason for going into teaching came from another teacher, seemingly passing down the torch to the next generation of educators. “I chose teaching, because I had a wonderful math teacher in high school,” said Christensen, who then wanted to go into mathematics education but found her way towards health.

Each year at OHS there seems to be a few new teachers, and a few more beloved others retiring. While students often only notice when new teachers come in, or old ones leaves, it is hard to remember that education is not the ever changing profession. Teachers that stay within the district for their first few years teaching tend to settle in and stay there until their time for retirement comes. But do not fret, those who have been teaching for years have mastered their craft, perfecting methods of teaching and learning each year how to get lessons through the thick skull of a teenager.

But I don’t know that I have anything else out there that I would have more fun doing than I’m doing right now”

— Mike Stormo

Classes become routine, each as enjoyable as the last. “It doesn’t matter if its AP Physics or Driver’s Ed or whatever it is, I have fun working with it.” said Mike Stormo, a science teacher at OHS who also doubles as the driver’s education instructor for many high school students. Enjoying the work one does is what turns a job into a career: doing something enjoyable at work can make everyday fly by. Thankfully, there are many teachers joining the workforce as well, and finding that passion their peers found years ago. “Well, I’m getting old enough that I could retire, or getting close to it. But I don’t know that I have anything else out there that I would have more fun doing than I’m doing right now.” said Stormo about the choice of retiring.

On May 13 the Owatonna Education Association will be holding their annual banquet honoring the Teacher of the Year candidates, retirees, and those who have been teaching for 25 or 30 years. This year Mr. Bruce Dirks of the Industrial Technology department , along with Mrs. Georgia Brendan from Language Arts will be retiring this year. Ms. Denise Lage and Mrs. Wendy Stephani will be honored years of teaching, while Mrs. Ann Christensen and Mrs. Rose Ragatz will honored for 30 years of teaching. For those teachers above that have spent their careers at OHS, that enjoyable thing has been teaching the youth here. An undying passion for education brought them to work in their field and has been keeping them there since.