SIDNEY — As students and teachers in Shelby County prepare to go back to school, one Lehman Catholic High School teacher is beginning her retirement.
Barb Saluke, who has been in education for 35 years, retired at the end of the 2015-16 school year. She has taught for the past 14 years at Lehman and was a teacher at New Bremen Local Schools for 24 years.
“My plans are to not have too many plans so I can enjoy the gift of each day,” said Saluke. “For more than 35 years, I’ve started every day with a ‘To Do’ list and I’d like to ditch the list for a while and just see what each day presents. I want to spend more time with my family.
“My husband (Jim) and I have lots of things we enjoy – we like to travel, bike, hike, garden and read. There are lots of little projects to do around the house, too. We have the great fortune of getting to enjoy our parents. My Mom (86) and my husband’s parents (90) are still healthy and active; our kids and grandkids are lots of fun and we enjoy spending time with them. We have 10 grandkids ranging in age from 6 to almost 18 in four different school districts in two different states, and we want to enjoy more of their activities, too.”
For the majority of her teaching career, Saluke has taught English, mostly junior and senior classes ranging from general to college prep to advanced placement. She also served as an adjunct professor for college credit. She’s also taught Spanish I, II and III and worked as a high school counselor. She’s been the adviser for the student newspaper, National Honor Society and the Academia Team. She’s directed 24 plays and two musicals during her career.
“The best thing about education is the students and my co-workers — there is never a dull moment and there is variety in every day,” said Saluke. “I’ve loved my career and feel like I’ve met some of the best people in the world! I am grateful and lucky and blessed to have had a job I enjoyed. The hardest thing about education is having one of those days that is so heartbreaking, or so difficult or frustrating that it seems impossible to muster enough energy to go back in the next day … but somehow we do.”
Saluke has seen many changes since the first day she entered the classroom as a teacher.
“Regarding changes in education, there are several that come to mind. One is the amount of required testing we have to do and another is the prominence of technology and social media,” said Saluke.
“I wish I could take credit for what I’m going to say here about another big change I’ve seen, but it actually came from a teacher with more than 50 years of teaching experience. She said that students really haven’t changed much in 50 years … but their parents sure have. Earlier in my career, students managed their own responsibilities, now it seems that parents do that for them.”
Besides traveling, biking, hiking, swimming, gardening and reading, she also enjoys a variety of things like sewing, knitting, piano, painting and refinishing old furniture.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.