Rossville Elementary teacher Sharon McGill has been described as a “Rossville lifer” for her commit to the school.
After a 33 year career with Rossville Elementary, Sharon McGill will be retiring on June 1. She has lived in Rossville since she was in the first grade.
“She’s been someone who dedicated her life to the community,” said Jon Jacoby, a member of the Rossville school board.
McGill started her career at Rossville in as an elementary secretary, where she got to be “buddies” with the students. She built personal relationships with students and staff.
She said she enjoyed being a secretary because every day was something different, but always worked as a general “helping hand” for the school.
“Sometimes I’d be answering the phone, filing, typing, and photocopying for teachers,” McGill said.
She has plenty of humorous stories to share from her career. She recalled how one student had been in the principal’s office so many times that he knew exactly how many bricks were in the wall.
“He told me there were 218 bricks in the principal’s office wall,” McGill laughed.
After 14 years as a secretary, McGill left her job for 2½ years to pursue a teaching degree at Indiana University Kokomo.
She said she always wanted to be a teacher, but instead pursued a family. She got married right out of high school in 1966 to her husband, Terry.
“He was very supportive when I went back to school,” McGill said. “It was hard to get by one person’s income, but it was worth it.”
Having accomplished her goal, around 1982 McGill said she returned the Rossville Elementary to teach math and reading.
“I’m a firm believer that kids need to be kids while they are kids,” McGill said. “They will be adults for the rest of their lives.”
McGill said she likes teaching math because “it’s cut and dry” but there are multiple ways to get to the answer. She loves the look of students’ faces when they realize they can solve a math problem that initially seems difficult.
“I tell them this is the kind of math problem you want to go home and show your parents,” McGill said. “They’ll think you’re so smart.”
She tries to make her class a fun and safe learning environment.
McGill conducts “dude and dudettes” exercises where she divides the students up in groups of the same sex and asks them questions.
“It’s a fun way to get them to open up about their thoughts,” McGill said.
Examples of some of the questions were: what are some things you don’t understand about boys or girls, and if you could go back in time which time would you go to?
McGill doesn’t stress that students sit in their seats at all times during class. As long as they are learning, she said she doesn’t mind where they sit.
Though when she has students bring in their childhood blanket to class, she notices students sit more in their seats for reading time.
“It’s just more comfy,” she said.
Jacoby said this is what McGill does best.
“She kept it fun and not business all the time,” he said. “There was a fine line and she knew how to walk it to a tee.”
School board members expressed their gratitude for McGill’s years of service when they approved her retirement at the April 3 meeting, and how she will be missed.
“She really cared about the kids not just in education but as a whole person,” said Board Member Billie Roth. “She always went the extra mile.”
In retirement McGill plans to have more “me time and less brain time,” but will still occasionally help out in the elementary classrooms when needed.
“I hope to do go more cooking, more running my grandkids around where they need to go, and reading,” McGill said.