Teacher sees many changes over the yearsSharon Kadrmas will begin next week as she has so many over the last 41 years, in her second grade classroom at Jefferson Elementary school in Dickinson.
By: John Odermann, The Dickinson Press
Sharon Kadrmas will begin next week as she has so many over the last 41 years, in her second grade classroom at Jefferson Elementary school in Dickinson.
But the week will end decidedly differently. It will be her last as she plans to retire at the end of the school year.
Kadrmas said it’s hard to believe so much time has passed since she started teaching fresh out of Dickinson State University at Roosevelt Elementary School in Dickinson in 1968. She moved over to teach at Jefferson a couple years later.
“If anything surprises me, it’s the brevity of life,” Kadrmas said. “Because you start out and you think it’s going to be forever and all of a sudden you look up and you think, ‘Oh my gosh, am I that old? Has it really happened?’”
When you’re a teacher and you start teaching the children of your students that’s when it’s about time to call it quits, Kadrmas said with a laugh.
Over the time she has been teaching, Kadrmas said a lot of things have changed in and out of the classroom.
“There’s really a lot to do,” Kadrmas said. “I feel as a second grade teacher we have to be a mother sometimes, we have to be a father, we have to be a nurse, we have to be a counselor and we have to be disciplinarians.”
Technological advancements have changed the way things are taught, with more hands-on activities and lessons, Kadrmas said.
“Our children in many ways are harder to teach because they’re used to being entertained by technology,” Kadrmas said. “Many of us as adults didn’t have until we were much, much older — the children in many ways know more of the technology then the teachers know.”
But the new approach to learning and teaching hasn’t changed the way Kadrmas feels about teaching and she says her teaching philosophy stayed the same until the end.
“I feel that…you get out of children what you expect,” Kadrmas said. “If you expect from them, they will produce. But if you water down and don’t expect from them they’re going to fall that way too.”
Kadrmas’ teaching partner in the second grade at Jefferson, Linda Fridley, said she’ll miss her partner, who she has developed so many lessons with.
“I will, she comes in every day that starts my day off with a laugh,” Fridley said. “It will be different for our whole school.”
Kadrmas said her coworkers haven’t only been colleagues, but also friends who have seen each other through their lives.
“We as a staff have gone through marriages, we’ve gone through having our first children, having our children in elementary school. We’ve seen them go to college, graduate from college and have children,” Kadrmas said.
Even through the struggles and changes over the years, Kadrmas said teaching is still as rewarding as the day she started.
“I went into teaching because I love children. And I love to see them grow. They’re very eager, it’s fun to come to work and have a smiling face,” Kadrmas said. “Even if you’ve had a morning that’s not good the children will always lift you up.”
And after all those years of little smiles, Kadrmas had a piece of advice for other teachers.
“Never to give up on a child,” Kadrmas said. “There’s children that struggle, but never give up on them. Let them know that they’re OK and that they can and they will succeed. You have to make them feel good about themselves and that’s very important.”