Calling it a career

Monday, June 1, 2009
Ellen Royer and Rhea Gilbrech

REELSVILLE -- After 75 years of combined teaching experience, two Reelsville Elementary teachers have decided to take a change of pace -- a slower pace. Retirement means a more leisurely schedule for sixth-grade teacher Ellen Royer and second-grade teacher Rhea Gilbrech. Friday was the ladies' last day.

Teaching, Royer and Gilbrech explained, is more than just instruction in the classroom. There are hours of papers to grade and lesson plans to prepare.

"When you are a teacher, you don't get much time for yourself," Gilbrech said about her decision to retire. "It will be nice to come home from church and not have to work on school," she added.

In her 38 years with the South Putnam School Corporation, Gilbrech has taught second grade in the same classroom. She admitted it was a challenge moving all her stuff.

"It's been a major job cleaning the room," she joked.

During her career, Gilbrech has taught entire families -- both parents and their children.

"It doesn't happen very often," she said. "It is very neat to see the kids come along after teaching mom or dad. It is something special."

For Royer, the idea of being grandma to her two grandchildren more than teacher at school has led her to retire. However, she hasn't said goodbye completely to the classroom. Royer will stay in education by substituting at local schools.

During her 37 years with the South Putnam School Corporation, she has taught sixth, first, third and looped second and third grades.

Both ladies agree teaching has changed since they started nearly four decades ago. The state has demanded more testing and requires a higher accountability standard for schools and teachers.

"There are just a lot more expectations," Royer said. "As far as testing and accountability."

A former teacher and child psychologist who pioneered techniques for conversing with children that are still taught today, the late Haim Ginott once said, "Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task."

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  • Mrs.Gilbrech. boy it's been a long time since second grade, There are alot of kids not as fortunate to have teachers like you, Mrs. Kelley, Mrs.Bonebrake, Mrs. Roberts,Mrs.Emery(?)Mrs.Meek and Mrs.Killion You Ladies have left a memory with me for life. Don't know where everybody is but I hope the best for all. You can't be replaced.

    Thank you for your hard work and patience (during the 80's especially).

    Can't Forget Mrs.Underwood(passed)She was a fun art teacher.

    -- Posted by c1991 on Mon, Jun 1, 2009, at 8:19 AM
  • I was in Mrs. Gilbrech's class for the 1973-74 school year. My family had just moved to the area. I couldn't have picked a better class to be in as a first time student to the school. Thanks for all you've done over the years for students like me and others! I, too, feel very blessed to have had teachers like Mrs. Gilbrech, Mrs. Meek, Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Martin. What a great foundation for my education!

    -- Posted by dharman on Tue, Jun 2, 2009, at 6:39 AM
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