Nielsen Looks Forwards and Backwards in Retirement
By Crosscurrents Reporter
Before you disappear into the sunset of retirement, we wanted to get a few last thoughts from you, if you don’t mind.
Of course not. As you know, I’ve always been more than happy to share my thoughts.
So, why did you decide to be a teacher?
Lots of reasons. One, I was always happiest when I was in school as a student or a teacher. My high school and college years were a lot of fun on many different levels. Being a happy teacher helps students learn. I also wanted to teach because I’ve learned lessons in life that I could share and that would make a difference for my students. I firmly believe that learning canand shouldbe fun.
What will you miss the most?
You, of course. Being around positive people who can make you laugh is great. Young people with super energy levels keep you young in life and in heart. What could be better than that? Once I leave, no one is going to want to take their picture with me. Sad.
What was that about the “keys” you talked about all the time with your students?
Well, I’d tell my students about all the doors they will have to open to achieve their dreams. To open the doors, they will need lots of keys (a good education) which will give them the ability to open the many different doors to get to that place they want to be. If they don’t have the keys, they will be pounding on doors that won’t open and eventually they might give up on their dreams. Get the education. Get the keys!
Nice metaphor. Any regrets?
You know, one of the profound things about life is wondering whether or not it means something important. Think about Macbeth and Shakespeare for a second. By the end of the play, poor Macbeth has lost just about everything. Lady Macbeth has committed suicide, his army has deserted him, and he is about to literally lose his head. At that moment, he looks at life and says:
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury.
For Macbeth, life is meaningless. Fortunately, teachers know their life has important meaning. Every year we teach, we see the important difference we make in students’ lives. And that lasts, and is pushed out into future generations. That’s something that has weight and real meaning.
A couple more questions. That picture of you and Tupac in this year’s yearbook. Is that really you?
Of course. You may have heard the story how I helped give him his name. At first, he wanted to be called Six-pack, then Case, then Keg, but I told him Two-pack. He liked it and just spelled it differently.
Are you worried about what will happen to your “Word of the Day” board now that you won’t be around to hound people to keep it going?
Yes and no. I’m always worried about my Word of Day but there will always be some really good people (writers and artists) that will take care of it and make it grow (I hope).
I also heard something about this Wall Scrabble Board that is going up in library. What’s that about?
Yeah. It’s a beautiful GIANT scrabble board that hangs on the wall with huge magnetic letters. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Much better than sitting at a table and staring at your phone. Do me a favor and make sure they hang it up. It’s in a box waiting for the library to finish its renovation.
So now that you are ready to begin the next part of your life, what’s on the agenda?
First, I’m going to pan for gold in Alaska. Always wanted to pan for gold. I’ll send you a few pics. The other big things are about writing and music. You may know, I’m always singing something, and I’d like to write a musical. Also, I’d like to write a book about education and hopefully add some ideas that will make it a little better and little more fun!
A FEW WORDS FROM A RETIREMENT DINNER HONORING MS. NESPOLI
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR COMING HERE TONIGHT. IT’S ALWAYS APPRECIATED WHEN YOU SUPPORT OUR RETIREES, ONE OF WHOM IS A GOOD FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE TERI NESPOLI. I’M SO HAPPY FOR HER, ALTHOUGH A LITTLE JEALOUS.
TERI IS A VERY DILIGENT, ORGANIZED AND DEDICATED GUIDANCE COUNSELOR. IN ALL THE YEARS I’VE BEEN WORKING WITH HER (13 TO BE EXACT), I’VE NEVER SEEN HER TURN AWAY A STUDENT. ALWAYS SEEMS TO MAKE TIME FOR THEM. SHE WORRIES ABOUT HER STUDENTS SOMETIMES MORE THAN THEIR OWN PARENTS. I’M SURE TERI HAS SEEN AND HEARD EVERYTHING THROUGH OUT HER 30 PLUS YEAR CAREER AS COUNSELOR.
SHE DOES HAVE HER QUIRKS. I’LL MISS HER SHOWING US THE LAYERS OF CUDDLE DUDS SHE HAS ON UNDER HER CLOTHES, AND THAT’S IN THE WARM WEATHER. THE WINTER TIME CALLS FOR LAYERS OF SWEATERS THAT MOST OF US WOULD USE AS A COAT.
SHE HAS HER TEA EVERY MORNING. I’M NOT SURE IF SHE DRINKS IT OR IF SHE JUST HOLDS IT AROUND HER HANDS FOR THE HEAT IT GIVES OFF.
TERI HAS A SWEET LOW VOICE. I USE TO THINK I WAS GOING DEAF. PAUSE THEN VICTORIA STARTED WORKING IN OUR OFFICE AND I REALIZED I WASN’T DEAF.
I’M NOT SURE IF ANYONE KNOWS THIS ABOUT TERI BUT SHE IS BLIND. I WOULD SEE HER LOOKING AT THE SENIOR COLLEGE FOLDERS WITH HER HEAD RIGHT ON TOP OF THE FILES STRUGGLING TO FIND A STUDENT’S NAME. EVERY YEAR I WOULD MAKE THE PRINT LARGER.
ALL KIDDING ASIDE, I’M REALLY HAPPY FOR TERI AND AM GOING TO MISS HER TERRIBLY. SHE IS A WARM, THOUGHTFUL AND GENEROUS PERSON. SHE IS A GOOD LISTENER AND IS ALWAYS INTERESTED IN WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY. I WISH HER THE VERY BEST IN ALL HER PLANS FOR THE FUTURE.
BY THE WAY, DON’T LET HER FOOL YOU. SHE’S NOT ACTUALLY RETIRING. SHE’S JUST TAKING HER ACCUMULATED YEARS OF MISSED LUNCH BREAKS.