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35-year teacher says goodbye to students

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Sandy Tubesing knew she wanted to be a teacher, from the time she was a small child. She knew that working with children was something she would do.

She grew up playing school with her dolls.

The Harrison, Ohio native joined the Future Teachers of America Club in high school and knew that was her calling. So she followed in the footsteps of  two aunts and her older sister who were teachers.

And for 35 years she has done just that, but now she’s ready to try a more relaxed lifestyle.

She visited Georgetown College and she said that’s when she knew she’d attend college there and that’s when she fell in love with Kentucky.

Tubesing began her teaching career in Grant County at Corinth Elementary. She moved on to teach kindergarten and Title 1 reading. She has also served as an elementary coach and taught ESL (English as a second language).

“Applying any of those is like applying apples to oranges,” she said. “They’re all good but different.”

She’s taught all the way from Corinth to Crittenden, but has never taught at Mason-Corinth Elementary.

The bulk of her career, 32 years, was spent at Crittenden-Mt. Zion Elementary.

“CMZ is still home, even though I know I’m welcome at the other schools,” she said.

As an ESL teacher, she’s taught students who spoke Japanese, Indian, but the bulk of her students have been Hispanic.

Having spent three decades in the classroom, Tubesing said she’s beginning to see children of former students.

“At first it was a shock but now what a joy to see former students in the schools with their children,” she said.

Former students have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, moms, mechanics and bankers.

Nikki Stidams, a former student and now preschool worker, wrote a paper about Tubesing and how she learned the alphabet from Tubesing’s ‘letter people” which are stuffed characters. Tubesing has given them to her former student to use in her classroom.

Deciding to retire from full-time teaching wasn’t an easy decision. Tubesing’s bright eyes brim with tears as she talks of her decision.

“It was a hard decision,” she said simply. “I’m going to miss the kids.”

But, even in retirement, she won’t be far from the students as she’s already filled out paperwork to volunteer at the schools.

“So I’ll still be with the kids. I just have to do some work that is with kids,” she said. “I devoted a lot of my life to teaching and it’s a big part of my identity.”

Tubesing said retirement will allow her a more relaxed lifestyle.

“I want to spend more time smelling the roses and pulling the weeds and tackling those closets that haven’t been cleaned in 35 years,” she said.

She credits the support of her husband and son for her success as an educator.

“There have been countless times I’ve dragged them to school to sort papers, make copies or grade papers.

They’ve always been understanding and always supportive,” she said.

Tubesing believes everyone should be a lifelong learner.

“That’s my goal,” she said. “At 58 I found myself in a classroom learning so that I could be the ESL instructor.”

She wants to go out with flair and that’s why she’s throwing herself a party from 2 to 4 p.m. May 21 at Lloyd’s Welfare House (Grant County Park) in Crittenden.

“I want all my former students, families, grandparents, parents, friends, co-workers, anyone that I’ve interacted with over my teaching career to come and visit with me,” she said.