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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Munts Facebook

A Farewell After 19 Years of Teaching

English teacher Paula Munts is retiring after being at the school for 19 years. 

Munts has not only been teaching and watching students grow up, but she has also put her own children through Sparkman. She has witnessed a wide range of accomplishments as well as changes throughout the school. 

“I did enjoy my time at Sparkman. I raised my kids here. I have loved my colleagues. I’ve been through five principles and countless assistant principals,” Munts said. “I’ve loved working here and I’ve been proud working here. I will miss the students and my colleagues. I won’t miss grading essays. One bit.”

Munts has always been a supporter of all things at Sparkman, including extracurriculars. Both her children were in the marching band and her daughter was a staff member of The Crimson Crier. She says just celebrating the little things with her students will always be in her heart and mind. 

“There are so many good memories at Sparkman. Football winning regionals watching those cheerleaders win national championships, the little victories in the classroom where the kids understand after they did not understand, that proverbial light bulb going off in somebody’s eyes is a joy to a teacher’s heart,” Munts said. “And I will miss that part for sure.”

After 19 years in the same classroom, Munts has some advice for both her students and her colleagues. 

“To my students any failures should be viewed through the lens of a chance to do better, try harder and overcome,” Munts said. “To my colleagues, keep your work life balance at a sustainable level.”

English teacher Renee Quaife has worked with Munts for 18 years, but met her when they were in college. The two have been friends for 21 years. Quaife mentions that Munts has been a mentor for her as well as someone that she could go to for advice.

“She’s been a good resource for making connections with teachers, making connections with students and making connections with parents. Being an effective teacher and being a professional teacher,” Quaife said. “I’ve looked at her as someone with knowledge and her experience and kind of tried to follow some of her guidance with some things, but still follow some of her guidance.”

The first memory with Munts that comes to mind for Quaife is a conversation that the two had about the importance of doing her job, like following the rules, and staying under the radar.

“She used that phrase (stay under the radar) which meant just come do what you need to do without drawing attention to yourself, without causing problems. Come in and do the job I’m hired to do without any of the extra stuff,” Quaife said.

Though Munts will be retiring she left the memories for her students as well as co-workers to remember.

“I appreciate her for showing me what it’s like to try to balance being a teacher and being a mom,” Quaife said.

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