Tough goodbyes bring new opportunities for retiring teachers

World Language department head Linda McCormack

By Ali Miller/Staff Writer

After teaching for 32 years, starting in 1978, Linda McCormack is finally ready to check papers for the final time.

McCormack said that as she was walking out of school on the last day of 2009, she thought that she could keep teaching for several years because she enjoyed it immensely. But coming back on the first day this year, McCormack said it hit her that it was finally time to retire.

“It was kind of a lightning bolt from the blue,” she said. Her husband has been retired for several years, and she wants to spend her days with him.

McCormack has definitely seen some changes over her years at CF, and they’re not just appearance changes. “I think the biggest change is the role of parents; too many are doing too much for their children and not allowing them to be responsible for their own behavior and the resulting consequences. However, the students have basically remained the same.”

McCormack doesn’t seem able to get enough of the teenagers here. “I absolutely love teenagers!” she said. “It’s fun to watch them grow up and become young adults, to be able to relate to them as adults and have adult conversations and discussions with them.”

Travel with family is on the agenda for McCormack after her retirement. Along with that is, “reading that long list of books I haven’t had time for,” and enjoying friends and family. “I plan to not live my life in 48-minute segments,” she said.

Spanish II and III has had quite the impact on her life. “There have been many amazing students during my career here, and Facebook has helped me keep in touch with them, as well as to connect with some I had lost track of.”

The friends she’s made as here are going to be what’s missed the most. The students, “Keep me on my toes. I probably learn as much from them as they do from me, and I think I’m a much better person for having spent many years in their company.”

Social studies department head John Mullan

By Donald Halbmaier/Staff Writer

Not too many teachers can say they have seen the population of a school drop from 1,700 to 1,200, or have the chance (though not taken) to be drafted into the Vietnam war all during their career. Throughout his 42 years here at Cedar Falls High School, social studies teacher John Mullan can say he has.

Now after his 42 years, Mullan has decided to take his leave. Like any career altering decision in one’s life, Mullan says that he put a lot of thought into his final choice.

“I thought earlier this year that I wasn’t going to leave. I was still debating up until March of this year,” Mullan said. “My wife was working up at UNI and retired six months ago, so that helped my decision.”

His post retirement plans involve time with his wife as well as his children, he said.

“Me and wife plan on going to visit our sons Travis and Nick who both graduated here from the high school. We would also like to go visit one of our friends who lives in Chile. I’m also going to enjoy more pleasure reading because a lot of my reading material has to do with the courses I teach.”

Even with all these plans of nice life after teaching, Mullan said he will miss his students and the school.

“I will really miss walking into the classroom each day. That is why I came here; that’s the best part. It (CFHS) has always been a great place to be able to do something creative with yourself and your teaching.”

Being the head of the social studies department, his retirement is also affecting other teachers, such as history teacher Robert Schmidt.

“It’s hard to measure how good of a teacher John Mullan has been. We are losing an excellent teacher and role model. I’m going to miss him as a teacher, colleague and friend. Someone has some big shoes to fill,” Schmidt said.

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