Aug. 18, 2006
Retired teachers return to school to help
a new set of 'students'
By Anna Kurth
It’s a time to kick back, relax, travel
and spend time with family.
But for two of Denfeld’s recently retired
teachers it’s a time to get back to work.
Math teacher Mae Pierson and history teacher David Griffin will
be back at school part time doing what they do best — teaching.
Only this time their students won’t be teenagers.
Pierson and Griffin are going to teach the teachers.
The former educators will work with staff development as the result
of a Dropout Prevention Grant and other grants Denfeld High School
Pierson will focus on the use of technology in
the classroom and Griffin will focus on good teaching skills, said
Denfeld Principal Ed Crawford.
“We’re elated that they are willing
to come back and share their years of expertise and talent,”
Crawford said. “They represent the best of the best of who
we have among our teachers.”
Pierson, who taught in the district for 32 years,
is beginning her staff development at the end of August. She’ll
be schooling teachers new to the district in the use of the Infinite
Campus system. Throughout the school year, she’ll also demonstrate
how to incorporate technology, such as the Smart Board, into the
classroom, she said.
Smart Board is a white board connected to a computer.
Pierson received a grant a few years ago to incorporate
Smart Board into her math class, Crawford said.
She had a high level of success in her classroom,
which shows that her methods are successful, he said.
Using technology in the classroom is almost a
different kind of teaching. It gets kids more involved, Pierson
So many people are afraid of making a mistake
with technology, so it’s good to have someone available to
give advice, she said.
Griffin worked in the district for 35 years. For
seven years, he did staff development. He goes back to that role
on a part-time basis.
“I actually find my retirement as a chance
to find other ways to help,” Griffin said. “I like teaching.
I like being with kids, and I ... don’t think I’ll ever
Griffin is making sure that his staff development
keeps him in contact with the main event — the students.
The plan is for teachers to bring their classes
into the lecture hall where Griffin will demonstrate the components
of a good lesson plan and how to deliver it while the teachers observe,
So Griffin will still be teaching in the classroom.
Pierson will most likely do the same kind of thing,
Both educators are right for this role in staff
development because they are well respected by their peers, he said.
The other teachers know their quality, expertise and enthusiasm
as educators. They’ve seen Pierson’s and Griffin’s
methods work, Crawford said.
“They’re both very skilled teachers.
... Now they are using their expertise in a different way and everyone
gains — the students, the teachers and Denfeld High School,”
Crawford said. “They drove the changes; they welcomed it.
I can’t say enough good things about these two.”
Griffin plans to help with staff development as
long as the district wants him, and he’s physically able to
help, he said.
“I’m not doing this for money. I’m
getting paid but ... I’m doing this because I like it,”
Griffin said. “Teaching is like playing to a certain extent,
and the biggest thing is kids. I like being around and helping kids.”
Pierson already misses the classroom. She sees
this part-time work as a way to restore some balance now that she’s
stopped teaching, she said.
“We just put so much of ourselves personally
(into teaching),” Pierson said. “It’s really hard
to put that aside.”
Both Pierson and Griffin also have plans to enjoy
their retirement. Part time is part time, and both have plenty of
hobbies, trips and family time planned, they said.
“I miss it already,” Pierson said
of teaching. “I miss it terribly, but I am looking forward
to this new phase in my life.”