The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Social studies department chair retires, looks foward to pursuing personal interests


Bill Priest is one of four teachers to retire this year. He plans on reading, furthering a dog rescue business and researching a novel topic after retirement. Photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi
Consisting of teaching and schooling, a 50-year educational journey will come to an end this year. Current Advanced Placement U.S. History and AP European History teacher, Bill Priest will retire after teaching at RBHS for 26 years.
“It’s probably time, and there won’t be clearly a perfect time” for retirement, Priest said. “I am not all that satisfied with my performance in any of my roles here. I feel like I am slowing down, and things are speeding up. I am certainly not doing some things as well as I used to. I probably am doing some other things better. [But] I am slowing down too much.”
He believes technology and a change in one of the fundamental principles of teaching have set him back. Teaching now, Priest said, has become more about being a psychologist, a counselor, a crisis management and a cognitive theorist than about being an expert in content.
However, he “was trained the other way around. In fact, I was trained a content expert [and] pretty much solely as that,” Priest said. But “the demands are a lot different” now.
One thing that has facilitated this new style of teaching is teaming, which gives students two teachers, instead of one, to reach out to. Priest’s partner in AP U.S. History, Debbie McDonough, who also teacher AP Literature and Composition, said she will miss working with someone like Priest next year.
The best part about the team is “working with somebody who is absolutely knowledgeable in his field, and he can answer about any question,” McDonough said. “Just the amazing experience of working with him is so special.”
After retirement, Priest plans on pursuing his alternative interests, things he thought he couldn’t make a living at earlier. He intends to read a lot for himself and possibly research a topic and write a novel, something his peers and students have requested.  He also hopes to spend more time with a dog rescue team with which he got involved about 10 years ago.
That’s “been an important part of my life,” Priest said. “I live alone now, and I live on the farm, and I’d like to get more involved in that now. And I’d like to some day adopt some wild mustangs, horses … and some burrows and things that [there] are way too many of.”
Priest said he thought about  retiring last year, but troubling a new principal with finding a new studies department chair made him wait.
“I knew it was coming,” Priest said. “I don’t mean to sound morbid, but men in my family don’t live very long, and I’d like to have a little retirement to pursue some interests. So I need to get along with it.”
By Shivangi Singh

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  • D

    DAS KELLAHMar 15, 2012 at 8:16 am


  • J

    Joanne LeeMar 12, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I will miss you Mr. Priest!! Great story, ms. Singh!

  • P

    PubliusMar 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    “Photy by Muhammad Al-Rawi”

    • S

      Shivangi SinghMar 10, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      Thank you.