After 34 years of teaching, Poplar Springs Elementary School science teacher Linda Posey remembers starting out when computers were all large desktop devices to the present day of laptops and tablets.
“The computers are smaller now and and the kids can be more interactive,” she said. “They have Chrome books and testing is done on the computer as well.”
Posey started her career in education at Crestwood Elementary as a teacher’s assistant to various grade school students, assisting in the computer lab, and went on to assist with special education students. She did not continue her education until after she married and had her children. It was then she decided to go back to college at Alcorn State University and get her teaching degree.
“I taught special education for 10 years and sort of got burned out and decided to get back into general education,” she said. “The funny part is when I was told I could teach science, I said, no thank you. I would like another position.”
She reflects on this as being humorous now, as she realized by the end of the year she loved teaching science.
Posey is among 10 Meridian Public School District retirees this year, according to MPD spokesman Matt Davis. The 2018 retirees were honored with a retirement reception Tuesday afternoon at Kahlmus Auditorium on the Meridian campus of Mississippi State University.
In addition to teaching at Crestwood, after earning her degree Posey also taught at Magnolia Middle School, the now closed Witherspoon Elementary, and even taught in Hawaii for a while, now finishing her career at Poplar Springs.
Some of her former students went on to become science teachers and many have told her, “You were a tough teacher but we knew you always had our best interest at heart,” Posey said.
Having children’s best interest at heart is her recipe for being a good teacher.
“I love the children and I will miss them and my coworkers,” Posey said.
When asked for advice for young people who may have aspirations to become a teacher, she tells them, “Make sure it’s for the right reasons and that you’re not just doing it for the money but for the love of imparting knowledge into a developing child.”
Even though she is leaving her position of full-time teacher, Posey has been asked to come back as a consultant to work with science teachers in elementary schools in the district. It will be a part-time position.
“I do not intend to go home and sit down,” she said. “I want to visit my sister in Cleveland, Ohio, spend time with, “Selma,” my Pekingese, and I want to take a cruise. I have been on dinner cruises but I want to take a big cruise.”
She listens to radio and television talk show host Tom Joyner and hopes to take one of his cruises. She also will spend some time with her two daughters and four grandchildren, one of whom is a freshman majoring in computer engineering at Mississippi State University.
Othere retirees honored Tuesday include: Wanda Brassfield, T.J. Harris Lower Elementary; Margaret Brooks, District; Marsha Iverson, Meridian High School; Carolyn Logan, Magnolia Middle School; Delores Riddle, T. J. Harris Elementary; Leisa Shumaker, Ross Collins; Nina, “Charlotte,” Trotter, Oakland Heights Elementary; Shelley Whittington, Poplar Springs Elementary; and Barbara Young, Oakland Heights Elementary.
These retirees represent more than 259.5 years of experience in education, according to the district.
“Over the years, these retirees have played an important role in the Meridian Public School District and they have made a tremendous impact on the lives of so many students,” Superintendent Amy Carter said in a statement. “I want to personally thank them for their dedication and service to the students of Meridian because our journey towards excellence could not have been achieved without them.”
Although there is a teacher shortage in Mississippi, Meridian Public Schools district is not experiencing a shortage as a result of retiring teachers, Davis said. One quarter of state schools, which includes 144 districts, are experiencing shortages.
“We typically expect every year to have teachers retiring and we fill those positions,” he said.
The district serves 5,500 students on 13 campuses.