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WMS teacher Paula Stock retires after 15 years in Worthington

She has especially enjoyed teaching middle school — most recently eighth grade — as those students still have a lot of exuberance and are less likely to slack off when it’s a class they aren’t thrilled with, she said.

Worthington Middle School teacher Paula Stock stands in front of her students as they work on Friday, May 20, 2022.
Worthington Middle School teacher Paula Stock stands in front of her students as they work on Friday, May 20, 2022.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — After 27 years of teaching English, Worthington Middle School teacher Paula Stock is retiring, but that doesn’t mean her story, or that of her students, is over.

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She started teaching in 1981, and left teaching for a little over a decade to work elsewhere, but found she couldn’t keep away from the classroom.

“It’s really time to get back to teaching,” she recalled telling herself at the time. “It’s in my blood.”

This was her fifteenth year teaching in Worthington.

Stock, who has multiple teachers in her family, graduated from Morristown High School and earned her bachelor’s degree at St. Cloud State, followed by her master’s degree at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.

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She has especially enjoyed teaching middle school — most recently eighth grade — as those students still have a lot of exuberance and are less likely to slack off when it’s a class they aren’t thrilled with, she said.

“They have energy. Even if they think sleeping is the best thing in the world, they still have a lot of energy and you can still have fun with them,” Stock said. “They’re willing to try things.”

While her classes focus on short stories, students also get to read poetry, novels and other works, and writing is included in every part of the class.

Worthington Middle school teacher Paula Stock discusses with her students how different writers have changed the tone of the ending of a movie about Anne Frank on Friday, May 20, 2022.
Worthington Middle school teacher Paula Stock discusses with her students how different writers have changed the tone of the ending of a movie about Anne Frank on Friday, May 20, 2022.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Technology has been the driving force of change in the teaching profession, Stock said, and it was particularly noticeable for her as she left the field in 1984 and returned in 1998.

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“What would you do?” Amram asked. “And I keep having the fear that you wouldn’t do anything, and it would be like Germany.”

“When I left, (technology) was there but very minimal. When I came back, there were computers in every classroom,” she said. “Overall, tech can be very useful because it can make the learning more student-centered, but of course, it takes work to make that change.”

At the same time, Stock said, some students find it difficult to maintain their focus due to all the distractions online, so teachers must keep an eye on it.

One thing that hasn’t really changed during her time as a teacher, though, is the kids themselves.

“There are problems that kids have that we didn’t have when I started teaching. They’re dealing with things they never had to deal with, but…. Kids are kids,” she said. “They want to get together with their friends, they want to play sports, they want to have a good experience.”

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Worthington Middle school teacher Paula Stock discusses with her students how different writers have changed the tone of the ending of a movie about Anne Frank on Friday, May 20, 2022.
Worthington Middle school teacher Paula Stock discusses with her students how different writers have changed the tone of the ending of a movie about Anne Frank on Friday, May 20, 2022.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Stock had some advice for others interested in going into teaching.

“If you think you love doing it, do it. You just can’t let things stop you from doing what you want to do,” she said. “Don’t let other people scare you.”

Stock herself has always loved English and the reading that goes along with it, and while she doesn’t have any plans now that she retired, she does have a giant stack of books to read. She also hopes to spend time with her husband, Craig, her two sons, and her grandchildren.

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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