Manhattan High Retirees of 2018
Welcome to part one of two on the retirees at MHS. Look forward to part two in the next edition of The Mentor.
Elizabeth Alexander Trending Editor
The amount of time Ed Chandler has put into teaching career at Manhattan High School is longer than any of his students ages.
Chandler will be retiring from his teaching position at MHS after 22 years. Having originally started in 1996, he had begun with teaching cultural awareness, economics and government. Over the years though, while remaining consistent with teaching economics, he has jumped around a bit and will be retiring as an economics and United States history teacher.
“I have a minor in economics,” Chandler said. “I always found [economics] interesting. ..’ I always just found it interesting how the economy worked, and how people spend their money, why some businesses function and some don’t.”
Chandler believes that economics is something that students will need to know for the rest of their lives because it is going to be all around them as they grow up and develop in the world.
When it comes to teaching, Chandler has had his fair share of experiences and learned to develop his own unique method of teaching.
“When I plan at the beginning of the year, I never decide how I’m going to teach until my students come in,” Chandler said. “Each class I teach a little bit differently. … I look into their eyes, and I just feel it, who they are and their personalities. My challenge is, by the second day, to know everybody’s personalities.”
Before being hired as a teacher, Chandler had originally been in the military. He had retired in 1994 with a teaching degree. He had originally wanted to be a history major, but then opted for a teaching certificate instead. Now he has decided to retire.
“I’ve been working on two books,” Chandler said. “Hopefully one will be out on the shelf by September of this year. It’s a nonfiction, it’s kind of a non-fiction, but it’s based off of some things that I’ve done. … I’m just kind of keeping it under wraps.”
A unique thing most students who are taught under Chandler know that he is quite fond of telling stories of his time in the military and of his travels.
But for now, Chandler is currently wrapping up the year and teaching his current classes the same as he always has. While it will be sad to see him go, he leaves words of advice for upcoming teachers new to the field.
“Your first couple of years, just relax,” Chandler said. “You have to wait to be comfortable until about your third year. When you get home at night, don’t think about any particular students. Blank it out, enjoy yourself, do whatever you need to do. Don’t take yourself too seriously either. And have fun. If you can’t have fun with what you’re doing, then why do it?”
2018 is a year where MHS will be seeing a handful of teachers and administrators go, but the teachings they leave behind will be their legacies.
“It’s interesting when you get to the end of your time, it sneaks up on you,” Chandler said. “But you feel good about it. I’ve taught thousands of students and I’ll always know that. I’ve impacted them, some good and some bad. It’s been great.”
Aloera Ostermann Staff Writer
Every year, teachers come and go. Some move schools, some retire, some choose different careers, but not every school gets to have a teacher in their program for 21 years. Manhattan High has had the privilege of hosting one of those teachers, Linda Uthoff, but at the end of this year she is choosing to join the long list of retired teachers.
Uthoff started out with a degree in social studies, but by the time she got to Manhattan High she decided that she wanted to take her life down a different path.
“I think it’s because I fell in love with theater, but also I’ve never encountered another subject that allowed me to pull from so many different areas of learning,” Uthoff said.
With her new masters in theater she became the drama teacher at Manhattan High and hasn’t regretted a second of it.
“The superintendent, Tom Hawk, now one of our state senators, who hired me said ‘When are you finally going to use that education degree that you have?’ and I’m really glad I took him up on it, it’s been a fun really fulfilling part of my life,” Uthoff said.
After teaching at Kansas State and being a part of the Columbian Theater, among other things, Uthoff finally ended up at Manhattan High. Early in her career she taught at both campuses, but she eventually ended up solely at the West campus.
“It was easier for me not to have to drag costumes and makeup and scripts and everything down there,” Uthoff said. “I feel bad that freshmen have to be on the bus so much, but I also feel that they gain something being connected to the West campus.”
Making the decision to retire is a hard thing for any teacher especially one who connects with their students and staff on another level, such as the drama teacher.
“I always felt like the rest of the faculty and the administrators were very supportive of the program and appreciated the performing arts as much as they appreciated any other program we have and saw the value in it,” Uthoff said.
Uthoff put a lot of time and thought into her decision and only made it final over this past summer. Her husband has been teaching for 42 years in the theater department at K-State and decided that he was ready to retire so Uthoff thought this would be a good move for both of them.
Once they have retired, the couple hopes to spend some more time together as well as spending time with other family and thier granddaughter who is expected to be born this month.
“There is always some bittersweet feelings about it, but I think it’s always good for students to realize that you know there are lots of things in life that everybody is going to do,” Uhtoff said,”It’s good to see people take chances to do other things with their time once in awhile.”
While Uthoff is excited to see what kind of new opportunities await her, she is going to miss being a teacher at Manhattan very much.
“I’m just really appreciative of all of my colleagues.” Uthoff said,”I couldn’t have picked a better high school in America to work at, it’s been a great ride.”