Her travels working for the Great Falls Public School District continued when she became the Literacy Teacher on Special Assignment out of the district office. Through the Reading First Grant, Marilyn then worked at Morningside School as a Reaching Coach. When the Reading First Grant came to an end, she was ready to go back to the classroom. She said, “I had missed having ‘my own kids.’ I went to Meadow Lark School and have taught first grade students until my retirement this year.”
Thinking back about one of her teaching experiences, Marilyn recalled a time when she was teaching prekindergarten. She said, “I had a class of 17 little ones. I had bought a new pair of sandals that had just come out on the market, and I felt I was really in style – they were Birkenstocks!
One day I was reading the kids a story and they were all seated on the carpet in front of me. I sat in my rocking chair and crossed my legs (so I could admire my new Birks!). I noticed the kids were sitting a little closer than usual, but one little boy was particularly close. I began reading and became totally engrossed in my story, using fun voices and expression. I vaguely noticed the same little boy had inched closer, but I assumed he was really interested in the story. I had them hooked!
Suddenly, I felt a stabbing pain in my big toe! My avid little listener had bitten my toe! No more open-toed shoes for a while!”
“Teaching has made my passion for learning bloom! I never tire of watching faces light up as they learn something new. Seeing children learn to read and fall in love with books is the best!
I am very proud of each and every student who has been in my classroom. They are each individual and special in their own way. I feel so blessed to have been a part of their learning experience. I have probably learned more from them than they learned from me. I sometimes think they learned in spite of me!”
In thinking about what she will miss the most, Marilyn said, “What will I miss the most? That is easy… definitely, it will be the hugs. I can never get enough!”
Even so, Marilyn has set her retirement plans. She said, “I hope to enjoy good health spending time with my wonderful husband, three beautiful daughters, and my two adorable grandsons.”