STEPHENVILLE (May 26, 2016) – After teaching special education for 23 years, Loretta McGee will retire from Henderson Junior High.
“I would say [the best part of this job is] being able to help kids that just really didn’t think they could do it and seeing them step up and be able to do what they could do at the best they could do and surprise themselves,” McGee said.
McGee attended Tarleton and earned a degree in animal science with a specialty in horse production and management. She had not even thought of becoming a teacher until a friend mentioned it. After looking into it, McGee decided to get her teacher certification at the Region 11 Service Center in Fort Worth.
“At that point in time, the service center was in need of special ed teachers,” McGee said. “Not that they made my choice for me, but they encouraged a lot of people to do the special ed [certification]. So I decided to go that route.”
McGee began her career at Three Way, working with homebound and special education students. She then taught a life skills class for two years in Dublin before coming to Stephenville.
“My very first year here, I did the behavior unit over at the high school,” McGee said. “That was a very interesting process. I stayed over there a year, and then I didn’t come back the next year. I came back part-time for the school district as a special ed homebound teacher. Then, I came over here and went to work for Mr. Henderson, and I’ve been here ever since.”
McGee taught the resource class for special education students, which provided extra help but maintained the same curriculum as the regular classrooms. When the school began to integrate those students back into the normal classroom as part of a classroom setup known as “inclusion”, McGee went with students to class to monitor and help the students if needed.
“Up to last year, we had resource classes, which I had a few kids in,” McGee said. “But, this year we’ve put all the resource kids in the mainstream class. My basic job is to take care of those special ed kids, make sure they’re getting what they need and keep them going.”
McGee said the biggest challenge of her job is teaching the students to believe in themselves and help them gain confidence.
“For the majority, they all seem to get a little more confident about what they can and can’t do,” McGee said.
After retiring, McGee plans to spend time with her four grandkids, two of which live in Stephenville. She is also in the registered sheep business.
“That will take a lot of my time,” McGee said. “I like to fool with those sheep. They keep me busy.”