DETROIT — The decades-long careers of Detroit ISD teachers Dawn Malone, Marilyn Gailin and Lisa McCarthy was celebrated Friday with retirement receptions at the high school gymnasium amid the well wishes of friends, family and prior students. Together, the retirees have a total of 109 years in education.
Malone worked in education for a total of 32 years. She spent 27 years at Prairiland ISD, teaching primarily middle school math. She has now finished her fifth year at Detroit, where she taught special education classes, intervention classes and a science class.
Malone expressed mixed feelings about her retirement.
“I’m excited. And I love my kids because I love my kids. Education has changed so drastically though, so I just feel it was time,” she said.
Malone called attention to the increased pressure standardized testing has put on students and teachers during her time teaching.
“The rigor, because of the TEKS and the STAAR testing, and you know, it’s put a lot of pressure on kids, a lot of pressure on parents, obviously a lot of pressure on us. Just trying to get them what they need to know in a time they need to know it. And some kids are not necessarily ready to learn it at that point, you know. You’re 10 years old, you’re supposed to learn certain things, but the child might not be ready until they’re 11,” Malone said.
Gailin taught kindergarten at Detroit ISD for 40 years. She started teaching after graduating from East Texas University in Commerce in 1974.
“As long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. I loved my first grade teacher, and I wanted to be like her. It is very rewarding to see a 5-year-old bloom over the school year and know you helped make that possible,” Gailin said when asked why she wanted to become a teacher.
She also commented on the change in education during her tenure.
“Many changes have taken place during my teaching career. The rigor of the kindergarten curriculum has changed very much. Kindergarten today is more like first grade 40 years ago. The use of technology in the classroom is a big change as each kindergartener has their own device to work with. Some things do not change. Each new year brings a room full of eager and excited kids. I feel very blessed to have been there,” she said.
McCarthy is retiring after 37 years of teaching. Seven of those years she taught in Louisiana. She started teaching at Detroit in 1993. She commented on the shift in expectations for teachers.
“I think the biggest change I have seen in education is the shift in expectations. At the beginning of my teaching career, schools played a much smaller role in educating children. Now so much more is expected from the schools as far as what is available to meet the needs of each and every student. I can only hope that students take advantage of all that is offered by our schools. Our future depends on it,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy led several organizations during her time at Detroit.
“I have so many memories while at Detroit; 28 years is a long time. I guess my favorite memories were of the camaraderie between teachers that created a wonderful rapport with the students. I loved doing the variety shows, murder mystery theater and, of course, the luau. All the fun trips we took. Like I said, too many to name. But Detroit will always be a big part of me,” she said.