June 2, 2005: Headlines: COS - Philippines: Elementary Education: West St. Paul Sun Current: Philippines RPCV Barbara Hagel Stevens retires as teacher

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Philippines: Peace Corps Philippines: The Peace Corps in the Philippines: June 2, 2005: Headlines: COS - Philippines: Elementary Education: West St. Paul Sun Current: Philippines RPCV Barbara Hagel Stevens retires as teacher

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Philippines RPCV Barbara Hagel Stevens retires as teacher

Philippines RPCV Barbara Hagel Stevens retires as teacher

Philippines RPCV Barbara Hagel Stevens retires as teacher

One of Pilot Knob's first teachers says goodbye

By Joshua Nichols
West St. Paul Sun Current
Eden Prairie, Minn.
June 2, 2005

After more than three decades in the same job at the same place of work, you might think things would get a little boring. Not so for Barbara Hagel Stevens.

"Teaching is not a boring job," Stevens said. "Each year you have new students with new personalities. There's always something new so it never gets stale."

Stevens started out her teaching career when Pilot Knob Elementary School opened its doors in Eagan in 1969. As of June 10, the Inver Grove Heights resident will be retired.

"I'll miss the students most of all," Stevens said. "I'm not leaving because I don't like the job. There are lots of things I love about the job and the children are definitely one of them."

Stevens said she is retiring because of a worsening back problem, but that she plans to continue to tutor children.

As she was attending high school in Mounds View, teaching was something that had always held an allure for her.

She found herself teaching Sunday school and babysitting and considered a career in nursing before she pursued teaching while at Augsburg College. She earned her master's degree from the University of Minnesota.

She kicked off her career as a substitute teacher before getting a start with Pilot Knob when it opened in the fall 1969.

"It was great," Stevens said of starting out in the new building. "It was a brand new building and everybody was new. There was this real feeling of helping each other out and figuring things out together."

Stevens spent each of the next 36 school years teaching second grade at the school with the exception of two years about three years into her tenure at the school.

Those two years found her serving in the Peace Corps in the Philippines.

"It was a real eye opener to other cultures and to third world countries," Stevens said. "By the time I returned, I was so appreciative of the little things we had over here that we often take for granted."

With no children of her own and only her mother living in the Twin Cities area, Stevens said she is approaching her retirement with plans to "figure it out as I go along."

Many things have obviously changed over Stevens' 35 years at the school. Curriculum is constantly changing and children change as years go by, but the biggest change has been with families, Stevens said.

The increasing rate of divorce over the past three decades has meant more student turnover and families in general are not as involved as they once were, she said.

She recalled times in the past when families would invite the whole class over for an end of the year picnic.

"You don't see something like that happening any more," Stevens said. "Everything is faster now and everybody is busier."

Stevens said the fact that her career as an elementary school teacher is coming to a close is something that hasn't hit her yet.

She has spent much of her spare time packing up her room and trying to finish all her end of the year projects.

"I have a lot of mixed feelings about it," she said. "Probably one of the hardest things will be not seeing all the people I have got to know over the number of years. If I say too much more I'll start crying."

And, of course, there is one other big thing Stevens said she will miss most once her final school year comes to a close later this month: the students.

"These really are my kids," she said of her students. "Kids always seem to be happy and they are always curious and willing to learn. I've always had fun teaching them."

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Story Source: West St. Paul Sun Current

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Philippines; Elementary Education



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