Retiring teachers reflect over years at RBHS


Kristine Cho

RBHS will say good-bye to four retiring teachers at the end of this school year, with the four being teacher Douglas Daniels, counselor Jane Piester, orchestral director Jeanne Lambson and school psychological examiner Steve Wallace.
In reflecting on their years of teaching, each staff member has their favorite part of their career. While there have been many parts of their experiences as teachers, all four have identified the defining factor in their career.
Piester said working with the students has provided her with the opportunity to “connect with students from every walk of life” and “listen to them and knowing that I can be a support to them.”
Along with Piester, Daniels and Lambson said the best part of working their job were the students.
“Since I’ve been here at Rock Bridge, it’s been really nice. I’ve really enjoyed my kids here,” Daniels said. “At Douglass [High School] the kids were different. I had great relations with a lot of them, but a lot of them came with some baggage, some trouble, and so sometimes they tried hard not to be loveable kids, but a lot of them, if you just got past their defensive walls, a lot of them were good kids, too. But it just came with different issues.”
Like Daniels, Lambson has enjoyed working with her students. In addition to the students, she also has enjoyed the music that she’s been able to conduct during her three years at RBHS.
“[The music] was really exciting to play, and just the different types of music, very challenging but with kids that were really motivated and wanted to play it. That was fun. The reason why I kept coming back is because of the great kids doing good stuff.” Lambson said.
Wallace, while also saying that he enjoys working with students, mentioned the team of staff he works with as an important and significant part of his career.
“The collegial relationship I have with staff. My role is unique and it’s the one– the only person that does what I do in a building. So I interact a lot with learning specialists and teachers in a consultant manner or doing testing,” Wallace said. “I really enjoy the collaborative process with them.”
Wallace made his decision in October 2014, saying it “just felt like it was time.”
“Well, I’ve been at it for 25 years, and I became eligible, and there were just other things I wanted to try and do, and I just thought, ‘Open the doors. See what the possibilities are out there, and I may stay with education, maybe on a part time basis,” Wallace said. “But I think the time that it will really hit me is the beginning of next school year, when I don’t return, whereas I’ve been doing so for 25 years. We all have a break at summer. But what will be different is in the fall when I won’t be coming back.”
Douglas also has a similar take on his retirement, with his breaking out of the cycle and finding time for other things he wishes to do.
“You never have enough time. As I can remember, whenever I taught, I made sure I was never out of town on a Sunday,” Douglas said. “It will be weird to no longer having to think about it [work]. And even in the summer, I think about school, come July 10th I start thinking ‘Wow, August is coming. I’ve got to start thinking about getting everything together.’ It was just so consuming. I couldn’t turn it off. Now I can.”
For that newfound time that the retirees will receive, each has a plan and hopes retirement. Wallace might continue in education, along with Piester, who is planning on working at the University of Missouri afterwards.
“I start my new job at the University on June 8th, so I only have a few days transition time,” Piester said. “The position I am going to be in at the school is kind of tying in my social work background and counseling background to working with graduate students”
Douglas is going to continue to coach the RBHS golf team, but might go into subbing, working at a golf course or anything else that he might “feel” like doing.
“I’m just trying to keep it wide open right now,” Douglas said. “I’ll probably see how the month of September through November goes, and see how I feel, if I feel like doing something else. I might just enjoy looking at the walls.”
As opposed to the others’ education oriented plans, Lambson is focusing on her family history, church and hobbies that she has. She likes “to sew for humanitarian purposes,” and has a garden to tend to, along with grandchildren to spend time with.
But all in all, the teachers will miss their time and experiences that they’ve had at RBHS.
“It’s been the best three years of my teaching career, here at Rock Bridge. Playing this music, being able to conduct, has been a thrill,” Lambson said.
By Kristine Cho