Connie Westerman is currently a teacher for 8th grade reading and is the team lead at Westport K-8. She has worked with Springfield Public Schools for 24 years and will be retiring at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Read about some of her favorite memories and advice she wants to share with educators below.
- How many years have you been with the district?
- I have been in the district the majority of my career. This is my 24th year teaching. I had two years at Campbell Elementary, moved out of district, returned to Reed for Title Reading and English (3 years), Bissett Elementary – 5th grade (1 year), and Study/Westport for the remainder of my years.
- What is one of your favorite memories throughout your time with SPS?
- I have been blessed to work with so many different people throughout my career. I was trying to think WHO had the greatest impact on me, as a teacher. Mrs. Arens, previously from Cherokee, was one of my cooperating teachers during student teaching. However, she has continued to influence my career and my life. The other person is previously from Reed. Until I moved to Reed I had taught SPED (inclusion, self-contained, Cross Categorical) and Title One. I had never taught a regular 8th grade class. Then along came Nigel. He told me he would help with learning to teach English, if I would help him with some class meetings. In one day, he taught me to lighten up, have some fun, and ENJOY teaching – If I could do so, then the students would also ENJOY learning. He is one of the smartest men I have ever met. I never knew you could go through an entire day of Professional Learning, with people from all over the district, with the wrong name on your name tag. It was my first day working with him. I was convinced, by the end of the day, I just did not remember his name. Oh the fun and joy! Some of my best memories come from teaching the students in my one English class per day, for 3 years. Thank you Mrs. Priscilla Arens and Mr. Kevin Ashton.
- There are so many memories, it is really hard to choose only one. I think with my students, one of my all time favorites was when the students asked if they could teach a lesson. If they are able to teach it, they know their stuff, so of course I agreed. It was fun watching them learn and grow and how they dealt with each other. Ben. It was also eye opening to see them “being” me. Talk about a “teacher as a reflective decision maker.”
- What is something you will miss about SPS?
- If you asked this in January, I probably would have had a hard time deciding. Now, it is so easy to answer. I will miss all of my teacher people, I will miss my students, and I will miss following my passion.
- What advice would you like to share with those who are not retiring this year?
- Stay positive, have fun, find a healthy stress relief, take care of yourself in order to be the best you possibly can be for your students. They are your reason for being in this profession.If your passion for teaching and working with students runs out, leave the profession. The students and your co-workers deserve.