JULY 27, 2015
Popular Blaine Elementary teacher is retiring…
As teachers throughout Lawrence County prepare for the upcoming school year by painting their classrooms, designing lesson plans and rearranging desks…there is one, who is gardening instead. Ethel Adams has chosen to retire after nearly three decades of teaching at Blaine Elementary School.
Retirement wasn’t a decision that came easy to Adams, according to her granddaughter Alex.
“The day she took the papers to Frankfort to turn in she almost cried,” said Alex. “She was very hesitant and heartbroken, but it was time. Right now she’s just enjoying the summer, but I think when school actually starts back and she doesn’t go, it will really hit her.”
Adams won’t be bored though, according to Alex as she spends much of her time currently gardening and has even bought a greenhouse to help keep her busy.
Teaching a variety of grades including kindergarten through fourth along with middle school, Adams once said in an interview that second and third grades are her favorite.
“I love watching and listening to kids as they learn new things,” she said. They’re still young enough to want to learn and please their teacher.”
While anyone that knew Adam’s teaching style would agree with colleague Lea Anna Preece who said “Ethel was top notch and ran a tight ship. She will be missed.” No one would deny that her teaching style was effective, and that her students knew they were loved.
“She’s not mean, but she’s strict,” said former student Corey Combs, age 7. “If you do something you’re not supposed to, she would line you out. But so far, she’s been my favorite teacher.”
Former student Kylyn McDowell, age 8, agrees, “She was really hard on us, but she was a great teacher.”
“My year as a student with Mrs. Adams was one of my most fun years. She was always there if I needed any help. Even when you move on from her class she is still there to help in any way she can,” said Alex Boggs, age 10. “ Me and my little brother would go down to her class first thing of every morning and every evening this year and she was always there with a smile on her face. I will miss seeing her every day at school.”
Parents would agree.
“Adams was one of the best teachers my child has had at her time in school,” said Jennifer Boggs. “She was always so understanding and never minded if to answer any questions you might have .She will be missed so much and I wish she was still there to teach.”
“The thing I respected about her the most was that she had no tolerance for nonsense from the students or the parents,” said Jessica Combs. “Both knew exactly what was expected in her classroom. I loved that, that’s exactly how it should be. I felt like that kept everyone on the same page. I just loved her, I wish she would’ve stayed.”
With BES being a small town school, Adams also often had the privelage of teaching some of her colleagues children.
“She always made me feel welcome in her classroom and has been a wonderful friend to me and my family,” said Alecia Conley. “As RD’s (son) second grade teacher, she made him work for his education and he grew so much! I love her and I know we’re all going to miss her!”
“Ethel was a no nonsense teacher. What I loved about her was she said what she meant and meant what she said. The kids always knew what was expected of them,” said Angel Chaffins. “My son Cody liked to slide by because things often came easy to him, but Ethel made him work for it. I loved that about her. She will be missed greatly!”
Though strict, Adams was never to be found without a smile.
“Ethel always had a smile greeting everyone,” said Alecia Robinette, colleague.
Preschool teacher Caroline Heston agrees, “”Ethel is a great lady! Always kind, humble and hardworking. The kind of person you feel like you’ve known forever. We will miss her so much!”
“Ethel loved from the heart…she loved her family, friends student, pizza and Dr Pepper! I can honestly say this from my heart because she is a dear special friend who always made a difference when given a classroom of new students,” said Anita Combs, colleague. “What you say is what you got, she never pretended to be someone she wasn’t. She taught with love, compassion and with great enthusiasm; touching and molding little hearts and minds. My goodness how she will be missed!”
While Adams has taught at other schools, including Martin County and Louisa Middle, it’s BES that she always called home, and where she leaves a very influential mark on not only students, but serves as an inspiration to other teachers as well.
“Oh my goodness, I don’t even know what to say about Ethel. I mean, I was her student for three years and she had such an impact on my life. She was one of the reasons I got into education in the first place. She’s such an inspiration,” said former student and coworker Sheila Gollihue. “Her classroom management skills are amazing and she is such a dedicated, hard worker. I hope to one day be at least half the teacher she is. It’s going to be very odd to walk down the halls of BES and know she’s not there anymore.”
“What I admired most about Ethel was when she removed her personal bookshelf from the classroom, she painted the wall behind it so that new teacher that would take her place would have a fresh, clean place to teach in,” said kindergarten teacher Emily Ream. “She left her room better than she found it, just like her students.”
“Ethel was a remarkable teacher. She’s whatI envision when I think of the teacher I hope to become throughout my career,” said Jenna Thompson, fifth grade teacher. “She was always very focused on the well-being and success of every student.”
“She always put the kids first and did what she needed to do to help them be successful. She made all her students feel important and that they belonged there,” said middle school teacher Lisa Withers.”I loved the fact that she took every obstacle, behavior and change with a smile. She was always there to help any of us when we had problems or questions. I will miss her very much!”
Throughout the years, Adams herself developed some advice to offer those who have chosen teaching as a profession.
“If you are willing to devote to your job outside the regular school day, this is a great choice for you,” said Adams. “Teaching is not a job that starts at 8am and ends at 4pm each day. There is so much more time spent on planning and record keeping that happens on your own time. There just isn’t enough time during the day to get everything accomplished if you are truly teaching your students.”
That advice, is something Adams truly lived by and is summed up perfectly by Garnett Skaggs, Lawrence County School Board Member who was also a colleague of Adams for many years.
“Ethel showed a great deal of pride in her work with her kids and she was passionate about teaching,” said Skaggs. “She was one of the finest in her teaching profession and she will be missed.”