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Q&A: Retiring teachers reflect on a lifetime in education

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Diana Stasand

From teaching physical education to advising cheerleaders, Diana Stasand has taught for 30 years. Stasand recalled a fond memory of participating in a pep rally when she dressed up as a student along with other teachers in a role reversal spirit competition. She said she looks forward to continuing to ride her horses and try skydiving as she retires.

“I will miss high school students…Seeing how students can change after you’ve taught them something and seeing the satisfaction that they’ve accomplished because of what I have helped them do is truly one of the rewards of teaching,” Stasand said.

Which classes do you teach and how long have you been teaching at Woodbridge?

I’ve taught physical education classes including total fitness, dance and freshman P.E. I’ve taught for 30 years, and I was cheerleading advisor.

“What are some of the rewards of teaching?

Seeing how students can change after you’ve taught them something and seeing the satisfaction that they’ve accomplished  because of what I have helped them do is truly one of the rewards of teaching.

What are some of your favorite memories at Woodbridge?

One of my favorite memories is we as a staff participated in a pep rally and we were pretending we were the students, and it was fun looking in the stands, watching the students crack up and laugh. It was in the 1990s.

How has Woodbridge changed throughout the years?

Woodbridge has changed in that technology changed. We never had to worry about cell phones. People were more focused when they didn’t have their cell phone with them. There were more activities they had afterschool, whereas everything is so academic-driven.

What will you miss most about Woodbridge?

I will miss high school students. I love the way they think and act, and I feel that I understand them, which is why I decided to teach high school instead of junior hig. They’re just great people and you can really get to know them and their behavior changes as you teach them and work with them and try to understand them.

What are you looking forward to as you retire?

Not getting up at 4:30 for 0 period. Taking vacations in September and April and spending even more time with my two horses that I ride and I love doing that and I can’t wait to do that even more than what I do now.

Do you own them?

I own them. Me and my daughter have horses and we do equestrian jumping.They have to be worked out every single day. These are sport horses, so they don’t just hang out in the barn and you don’t just go play with them. They need to be exercised. They need to be worked and kept in physical condition.

I’m not a sit-down-and-watch-tv person or spend a lot of time on the computer. I like to be outdoors and try to figure out something else to do. Maybe skydiving.

 

 

Kirk Harris

Kirk Harris has taught a variety of classes including English, physical education and typing for 33 years. He enjoys the “energy of young people” and noted the increasing use of technology in the classroom as years passed by, which is a drastic change from his childhood. His retirement plans include traveling and spending time with his grandchildren.

“I have ten grandchildren. I probably will be going to a lot of those sporting events and dance recitals. We plan to travel a lot. I have a couple of trips. I plan on [traveling throughout] the United States first and maybe Europe,” Harris said.

Which classes have you taught and how long have you taught at Woodbridge?

I’ve taught for 33 years. I’ve taught English for about 20 years and then P.E and a typing class.

What do you like about teaching?

Other than the summers, I like being around the energy of young people.

Do you have any favorite memories?

I think some of my favorites memories are just being part of the early development of Woodbridge. I was here for the first senior class graduation and I’ve been a part of the football program.

What are some of your retirement plans.

I have ten grandchildren. I probably will be going to a lot of those sporting events and dance recitals. We plan to travel a lot. I have a couple of trips. I plan on going to the United States first and maybe Europe.

Since you’ve been at Woodbridge for a long time, do you notice any differences about

I think the environment’s the same. Technology has changed. The way that students have communicated. There’s not as much conversing back-and-forth face to face, because everything is texting. I see students being more interested in their phones than the person right next to them. I’ve seen groups of students where five of you can be standing in a group but nobody’s talking. This is different. People from our era is different.

What will you miss most about Woodbridge?

The people. The people in Friday night football games is what I’ll miss the most.

 

Farley

Since the opening ceremony of Woodbridge, John Farley has witnessed the physical and academic expansion of the campus as he taught every level of math. He recalled the days when “there weren’t even chalkboards” and the implementation of technology into the classroom when “teaching the teachers how to use email was a big thing at that time.” He plans to travel to Hawaii and Spain with his wife.

“I will miss the students. I really do enjoy seeing students’ eyes light up when they understand a difficult topic. As a teacher, you end up meeting a lot of different characters over the years, and I will miss that,” Farley said.

I started at Woodbridge the year that Woodbridge opened. 1980. 36 years. Before that I was at University High. I’ve taught every level of mathematics over the years.

What are some of the rewards of teaching?

What I like about teaching and I’ve never grown tired of it, is to see students’ eyes light up when they understand something. I try my best to make difficult ideas understandable to my students.

How has Woodbridge changed over the years?

Everything’s changed. The physical campus has changed The first year, there was a lot of dirt a lot of construction. There weren’t even chalkboards. It was tough. They gave us portable chalkboards that they would wheel into our rooms. We started with very little in terms of physical facilities. Then over the years, they built the K Building, which we didn’t have in the beginning. My first year teaching, I was in the H building, right next to the band room teaching that, and then I was moved to the A building and then the math building was moved to the portables by the creek and then this building was built, so the math building has moved around over the years.

The other change that has occurred… the staff has changed. The original staff was here for quite a few years but they’ve retired now, so we really have a new young staff of people who are new to this school. They don’t have the same memories that I have when I came years ago.

The other thing that’s changed is technology. Back when we started, there was no such thing as the Internet back in the 80s. So one of the big things I did in my career here is that I installed the first Internet connection that the school ever had. We had a grant of 1.5 million dollars to make this school a digital high school, so it was my job to install the Internet and all the computers. I know it seems hard to believe, but at that time our teachers didn’t know how to use email. Just teaching the teachers how to use email was a big thing at that time. Another big change is the technology that we have with the document cameras. That has really made the job much better… a better learning environment with these cameras and having the internet for student use too.

What are some of your favorite memories?

There are so many memories teaching here for 36 years. Some of the memories I hold on to is that I had a 100% pass rate for my BC calculus. Another memory is I had an AP Calculus student get a perfect score on the AP exam. One of my students did this is 2012. Another good memory I’m proud of is when I was installing the internet and teaching the computer classes. I feel like I’ve accomplished quite a bit over the years.  My career had three phases. For the first htid of my career, I was teaching core math courses. For the second part of my career, I was working with technology, installing the network into the classroom and teaching computer programming the last part of my career, I’ve been teaching Ap Statistics and pre-calculus and AP Calculus BC.

What are your retirement plans?

My wife was a teacher as well. She was a Spanish teacher down in Aliso Niguel High School. So now that we’re both retired, we want to travel. We hope to go to Hawaii in October. We hope to go to Spain, because she has a history with Spain, so we hope to travel.

Anything to do with math?

U do have interest in math and computer science. I hope to sort of explore those areas.

I will miss the students. I really do enjoy seeing students’ eyes light up when they understand a difficult topic. As a teacher, you end up meeting a lot of different characters over the years and I will miss that.

 

Antrim

Helping students decipher honors chemistry and AP chemistry, Mike Antrim has taught at Woodbridge High for 18 years. His vacation plans include traveling to County Antrim in Northern Ireland and plans to build a house on Fidalgo Island in Washington. He intends to engage himself with volunteering at the nature night sky presentation, kayak, travel, participate in guest chemistry demonstrations and build a house on San Juan islands.

Where do you hope to travel to?

Antrim Ireland is a very special place. It’s one of the places I hope to go in retirement to visit.  It’s a city,  Antrim City, and it has a mountain range. I am moving to an island in Washington in Puget Sound. It’s not called Antrim Island though. There will be an Antrim residing on this island. It’s the Fidalgo Island. It’s one of the San Juan islands in Washington state.

Why did you choose that island?

It’s a nice sized town. It’s smaller and quieter. There’s a lot of forests and a lot of opportunities for hiking and kayaking.  It’s just a nice place to relax.

Overall, it has been a great experience working with students, colleagues and administrators. Having both of my children in class and I’m proud to say that my son took Honors Chemistry from me ten years ago and is now working on his PhD. in particle physics at the Seering Institute in France and my daughter, who was also a graduate of Woodbridge , has also gone into education and she is a second grade teacher in Laguna Beach.

What does teaching mean to you?

It’s pretty much the only thing I’ve ever done. I decided that I wanted to be a science teacher in 7th grade in Mr. Peterson’s class. [While I was] sitting there, taking notes, I looked up and I thought I want to be Mr. Peterson and I did become Mr. Peterson and it is the only thing I ever wanted to do. I feel like I have a great passion and I’m still having fun teaching and help students grow. I hope some of my passion rubs off on them, their interest and their knowledge in science. This is what has driven my passion for helping others. I hope they see the natural world of science as I do.

 

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Q&A: Retiring teachers reflect on a lifetime in education