Friday, June 20, 2008

Goodbye Dean Rusk

Well, I have put this article off long enough. This is going to be a difficult one as I have many strong feelings about my times at DRMS, and wonder how mere words can hope to express the thoughts I have about this place. I have been teaching at Dean Rusk Middle School since 1990. Eighteen years. This year, the time that I have walked the halls of this wonderful place of learning has come to an end.

The times that I have spent there are etched in my memory. The thousands of young students that have passed under my care and instruction. Many have graduated from college and gotten married- one in fact this last year, I taught a child, unaware that I had also taught her mother when she came through. A handful of these students have died tragically, in car wrecks, or by disease or suicide. I pray for and remember them and the times they spent with me; whether I could have done anything that might have made a difference in their lives.

I also have many memories of the faculty and staff there, fond ones of companionship and support. The custodial staff especially I held in high regard. They were the hardest working people there, and yet received no glamor, no special recognition, not even decent pay. Man judges the outer appearance, but God judges the heart. It is my hope that they would be blessed by God in the work of their hands, and that the blessing that they were to me would be given back to them, many times over.

The faculty of Dean Rusk Middle School has undergone a change, an evolution of sorts, although its backbone has for the most part remained the same, up until this year. It was a great priveledge for me to serve with them. It was with great sadness that I saw some of the greatest teachers and respected individuals I know retire. Their friendship was greatly missed by me, although it seems to me that after 30 years of service retirement is something that has indeed been earned. Among these folks that I greatly look up to and admire, are Bob Rosenfeld, Linda Orfale, Greg Drummer, Ron Henderson, and Dr. Joe Blackwell. You all have left an impressionable mark on me, and changed me forever. Thank you so very much for your love.

As for the people that remain, there are too many for me to mention by name, but you know who you are. Thank you for your love, support and comradeship over the years. I am a better person for having known you, and I shall miss you all dearly. As I leave I would ask of you one small favor: pray for your students. Pray for them and their families, that they would be blessed and protected, that God would be with them as they make decisions in their lives. It seems like the troublemakers are the ones in need of the most help, but the silent children, the ones that rarely speak- they have issues too that although do not draw attention, are just as important to them. So pray for them all, by name and need as you are lead. In this you render to them a much greater service than no instruction of knowledge could ever hope to attain.

To my former students, thank you for the lessons that you have taught me- lessons in patience, in understanding, in hard work, in just being yourselves and allowing me to watch you grow and go through the difficult time that middle school is. The blessing in that regard has been mine. I hope that in some small way I might have been able to make a difference to you, as you have to me.

I could go on and talk about how education has changed since I have started teaching, but when it all comes down to it, its about the people I have met and the lives I have seen touched, including my own, that really matters. Thank you Lord, for this wonderful experience that has been a gift to me. Your gift, on this journey we call life.

Glenn Houtchens
armchair coach
amateur historian