Preschool teacher retires after 17 years
August 27, 2008 · Updated 3:32 PM
ARLINGTON Rosemarie Straiksma marked the end of her 17 years of teaching at the Arlington preschool May 30, and while shes not sure what shell do next, she knows shell miss the families shes met and the friends shes made.
The Arlington preschool has been Straiksmas first and only teaching job since she became an educator, and she spent the first dozen years of her career working under the mentorship of Ruth Munizza, who taught at the preschool for decades.
I could not have done it without her, said Straiksma, who took over Munizzas duties when she left the preschool nearly half a dozen years ago.
Straiksma has learned plenty on her own about education, however. As a mother and a teacher, she acknowledged the ways in which those two roles have influenced each other.
Ive learned a lot from these children, just as theyve learned a lot from me, Straiksma said. Its important to be flexible and patient, and to listen. Children are pretty smart. I have four of my own now, and Ive learned how to raise them from teaching other children. Its worked both ways.
Straiksma has also learned to cope with changes in the ways that children learn and play.
The technology that surrounds them has changed them, I think, Straiksma said. Children as a whole have become a bit more introverted and dont spend as much time playing outdoors, although our groups are still big into outdoor play. Our society has also had an extreme push toward academic achievement, thats put a lot of pressure on children to be perfect early on, but I think were starting to back off from that a bit. Its OK that kids need to play.
Straiksma described it as educational and rewarding to interact with parents and children alike, as she praised the parents for their support and appreciated the childrens affection.
Its really hard to put into words what a privilege its been to meet such sweet little kids, Straiksma said. They have so much love and so many hugs. Im always amazed by what the kids minds can come up with. They have great stories and a totally different view of the world. Ive built up a lot of tremendous, wonderful friends over the years.