STEPHENVILLE (May 23, 2016) – Fraun Polasek has taught at Hook Elementary School since it opened its doors 15 years ago. She retires at the end of this semester having taught for over 20 years in the Stephenville ISD.
“[The best part of teaching] is helping students find their strengths they they didn’t know they had to make them feel good about themselves and know they have worth,” Polasek said.
Although she loves her job today, Polasek did not want to become a teacher for “the longest time.” She hoped to work as a librarian because she loved reading. But, while living in Crowell, Polasek found that her opportunities were limited to being a teacher or an attorney. She began teaching at Vernon, a nearby town, in 1986.
“I didn’t want to be an attorney because it would take too much time away from my family,” Polasek said. “I already had one daughter. So, to me, teaching was the way to go. I just was very fortunate that was something my skill set and my talents lent itself to is an elementary teacher. It turned out this was the greatest decision I ever made career-wise, because it turns out I feel like I was called to do that.”
After teaching at Vernon, Polasek and her family moved to Stephenville, and she taught at Three Way for the next three years.
“I took two years off to be with my (second) child and substitute,” Polasek said. “During that time, I would substitute to get my foot in the door at SISD. I substituted mostly at Chamberlin. After my second year, they created a job. They opened up a new position to help in remedial reading.”
In her eight years at Chamberlin, Polasek “wore many hats.” After working in the remedial classroom, she became the gifted and talented teacher as well as the dyslexia coordinator. She also taught in the regular classroom as a first grade teacher.
“I’ve taught kindergarten through sixth grade, except second,” Polasek said.
When Hook opened in 2001, Polasek became a writing teacher. She taught English classes and for three years was a self-contained teacher, which means she taught every class except PE and music. She was also a computer teacher and now works as the computer and art teacher.
“My favorite age has always been third, fourth and fifth grade,” Polasek said. “The children still respect you, and adults are still important in their lives as opposed to their friends being the most important thing. So, therefore they love you still. But, their minds are so curious and they really want to learn, and they’re not afraid.”
Polasek loves working with students to see the “spark that gets in a student’s eyes” when they understand something that they did not before.
“That was very evident in first grade, teaching students how to read,” Polasek said. “That became addictive almost to see that light come on.”
After retiring this spring, Polasek and her husband Dave plan to spend time with their parents while remodeling an RV and waiting for the hurricane season to end. Then, they plan to take an extended vacation in Mexico on Isla Mujeres- a small four mile long, half a mile wide island.
“I’ve always been interested in the geology of the area,” Polasek said. “My husband is a photographer. We’ve also been interested in the Mayan and Aztec cultures through the years, so we want to do a lot of archaeological studies and visit a lot of archaeological sites. Then, when we get tired of that,we will come back to the United States and take the newly remodeled RV and travel around the United States and volunteer at state and national parks.”