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Washington Elementary School educator reflects on 35 years of teaching

Published: Aug. 30, 2020 at 11:53 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Just like students, teachers are heading back to school. Some will have their first ever experience at the front of the class. Others, like Jan Mason, will be returning for what’s more likely their five to seven thousandth time.

Mason has been teaching in Washington County for roughly 35 years, only taking time off to have her two sons.

She got her start at the alternative school, working with some older kids with behavior problems.

She then bounced around a few elementary schools, eventually settling in at Washington Elementary in Marietta, where she currently teaches third grade.

In all her years educating youngsters, she has seen a variety of changes in the education system, but the changes that stick out in her mind are the ones brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Well, definitely COVID and definitely teaching all online. Of course when I started, we didn’t do anything with computers,” said Mason. “Now kids are having to, as young as kindergarten and first grade, having to get some instruction on computers.”

After all those years in the field, Mason has learned a thing or two. To new teachers, she says the first year is always the hardest.

“I do feel sorry for teachers who are starting this year, because it’s going to be really, really hard,” said Mason. “The first year is definitely the hardest. And I would say, as always stay as flexible as you can and keep learning new things. Go to the veteran teachers, they can give you some advice.”

Like many teachers, Mason became an educator because of her love for kids.

“I love kids. I really do,” said Mason. “That’s what makes me so happy about being in school right now, is being able to be with my students. They crack me up every day.”

And while she loves her job and her students, Mason does plan on retiring in the next few years. She says she’s thinking of the young teachers trying to enter the field, and she may need to make room for them. But, she will certainly miss the work she has done for so long.

“It’s going to be hard. It’ll be really, really hard. I know when we were out of school this past summer and part of the spring, it was really rough on me. I just hated being at home all the time. I really missed being with the kids in person. We could meet face to face through Zoom and Google Meets, but it’s just not the same,” said Mason.

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