Retiring after teaching careers spent in same school
© Eric Sparling – Amherst Daily News.
Dale and Wayne MacDougall have just finished their final year of teaching. The high school sweethearts worked for most of three decades together at the same school, West Highlands Elementary. Travel is on their agenda for retirement.
AMHERST – Their final year flew by.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet…,” said Wayne MacDougall.
Wayne and his wife, Dale, have taught in the same school for decades. The West Highland Elementary School teachers are retiring the same year, this year, too.
“Some people wait too long,” said Dale.
It’s nice to leave when you still like your work, she said.
Her husband said he’s been weighing the pros and cons all year, but he “just had this feeling” the time had come.
“I loved my job,” said the husband.
Wayne taught for 34 years, 29 of them at West Highlands; Dale for 33 years, 27 at her final school. The high school sweethearts hailed from Cape Breton, originally.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” said Dale.
Wayne mentioned how much enjoyed the extra-curricular elements of the job, from teaching snowshoeing and skating, to taking students on a train trip.
“I love helping people,” he said.
Students have changed over the years, said Dale, who’s leaving a position teaching Primary.
“Lot more grown up than they were,” she said.
The job has changed, too, the couple said. New curriculum is coming. They feel the workload has increased. And competing with technology to keep the attention of children is challenging.
The students were appreciative of what you did for them, though, said Wayne, and parents were supportive. He said the school’s sense of community is like a family. Both thought friendships forged at the elementary school in many cases lasted right through high school to graduation.
The two had less interaction at work than one might suppose.
“We don’t see each other a whole lot,” said Wayne.
The couple worked at opposite ends of the school. He’d come in earlier, she’d come in later; he’d leave earlier, she’d leave later. Having tow teacher sin one family was great for family life, said Dale, and Wayne said they were good support for each other: they could vent when they needed to, knowing the other would understand the situation.
“We’d like to travel,” said Wayne, when asked what they hoped to do in retirement.
“I like Florida,” said Dale.
She said it’s nice not to be bound by routine after three decades being scheduled. He said it’s good not having to get up at 10 past six each morning. And Dale is glad she won’t have to pack lunch anymore.