Pat Stansberry's farewell teaching tour rolls through its final days next week.
"I hope kids walk away feeling capable and positive about themselves, with a love of learning, to be self-motivates and to know how much I adore them," she said.
This year Stansberry will retire as a third-grade teacher at The Community School. Before her departure students, friends and colleagues will pay tribute today, May 26, at school's community meeting.
A teacher since 1970, Pat arrived to The Community School in 1988. Her first year at the Sun Valley-based campus was also the first year of the new elementary school building. Due to low enrollment, Stansberry taught a combined third and fourth-grade class.
Times changed. Through the years, Stansberry saw an elementary science teacher hired and involvement of the elementary students in the intensive outdoor program.
"The curriculum has changed to meet the needs of high achieving kids," she said.
What hasn't changed is the third-grade teacher's adoration for her students. She leaves touched by her current class, whom she describes as enthusiastic, kind and creative. The students seem to share the same affinity for their teacher. This week, the one student eagerly showed Stansberry her progress with sign language. Other students said they would miss their teacher's personality, hugs and cowboy poetry.
The palpable connection may come from Stansberry's teaching philosophy. She said she uses a child-centered approach, implementing positive reinforcement for disciple.
Her dedication garnered recognition this year from the "Who's who among American teachers" publication. The national publication recognizes teachers who make significant impacts on children. Her husband, John, a retired Hemingway teacher also received the award during his teaching career.
Educational excellence runs in the family. Her youngest son, Chad, a pilot, has taught as a flight instructor. Her son, Brad, teaches at Hailey Elementary.
"Brad can give me new ideas to approach the kids. I can give him, not old fashioned, but tried and true ideas for the classroom, like classroom management and curriculum," she said.
Teaching will continue to play a role in Stansberry's retirement, though she won't miss lunch duty. She wants to enable other people to realize the benefit of great teachers, and compensate them accordingly.
In her retirement, she will become more aggressive in finding a kidney donor for John, who awaits a kidney transplant. He needs a new organ to replace his failing kidney, now that he is healthy enough for surgery. She also plans to travel.
The phrase, which decorates her classroom wall, best describes the next Stansberry's next phase "let the wild rumpus start."