Mrs. Laurene Gatlin, a biology teacher here in at Oswego High School, will be retiring this year after 15 years of teaching. Mrs. Gatlin has been working as a biology teacher for 10 years at OHS out of those 15 years. With her retirement around the corner, Mrs. Gatlin is trying to relish in her time while she has it.
Before Mrs. Gatlin even thought about being a teacher, she earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After her four years of college, she developed an interest in teaching. She took an introductory class, but that was her last year of college, so she did not pursue that career path at the time. She earned her Master’s of Education at the University of Saint Francis.
“I have my own children, and they were getting older, and I realized I really enjoyed being around children and kids of that age, so I went back to school for teaching,” Gatlin says.
Before she was a teacher, Mrs. Gatlin was a veterinarian technician. It was a fascinating job, and she had no idea a career like that existed before she went into it. She was able to schedule her own day, be outside a little bit, be inside, inspect bathing beaches, and it was always a lot of fun for her.
“My husband had worked, and he was in the military, so we were living in North Carolina,” she states. “There weren’t a lot of opportunities around and was another thing that I had some interest in, so I had done that for a few years.”
After 15 long years of being a teacher and 10 years of working at Oswego High School, Mrs. Gatlin will definitely be retiring for good. Her reasoning? It’s just her choice.
“I’m hoping to have more time to spend with my family and see more of the national parks. It’s a little bit exciting and a little sad,” Gatlin says.
She started to tear up, knowing that she already had her last first day of school this year, knowing she won’t be able to come back and see all the smiling students. Another reason for her retirement is to do some traveling, and also spend some time with her mother.
“My husband has retired already, so we feel the timing is good and for us to be able to get out and do some and also be around for my mom. She is getting old and requires a bit more care,” Gatlin says.
She smiles as she begins to think about her fondest moments at OHS. Seeing all the happy students in the halls, all her students being ready for class, and seeing all the excitement during spirit week.
“I will miss this dearly,” she says with a smile.