The student news source of Iowa City West High

Tessa Gibson

Bob Wagner, one of the retiring teachers, posing in his classroom.

Bob Wagner

Bob Wagner is a Strat II special education teacher who has taught at West High for one year. Despite one year of working here, Wagner has a lot of history with this school. “While I have taught at West High only one year, my memories span 18 years from when my children attended West High.  I have very fond memories of my children and their involvement at WHS.” He’s recognized his colleagues for contributing to his memories at West. “My best memories on the faculty are primarily centered around the students and staff in the Special Education department.” Wagner greatly appreciates his time at West. “I could never take a job where I talk only on a phone and relate only to a computer.  It’s people that make the difference.  Becoming an educator is one of the best decisions of my life.”  

Unfortunately, Wagner herniated two disks in his lower back which then led to two surgeries. Throughout his recovery, his fellow colleagues have been incredibly helpful and supportive. “It is the understanding and helpfulness of my teaching colleagues, paras, and administrators who made this year the success it has been.” Wagner believes it’s the right time to retire, he says, “But since my back issues – while improved – still persist, and because I’m also turning 65 in June, the time was right.” 

Wagner believes that an occupation is an important part of one’s personal identity. “When people ask ‘What do you do?’ we most often mention our jobs. It gives us our professional identity, so I will certainly miss teaching, as well as the daily interactions with students and staff.” After retiring, Wagner has goals he will be working towards. Wagner’s short-term goals include: healing from his surgeries and preparing for his daughter’s wedding this fall. His long-term goals include: traveling, spending time with hobbies and being useful in his next stage of life. 

Wagner’s parting advice places an emphasis on dignity and having gratitude in life. “There is dignity in all work.  Hard work is its own reward.  Don’t dwell on your troubles, let them roll off your shoulders like rain.  Celebrate uniqueness and diversity so others are never “them” but always “us.” Be grateful, and you will be happy.”

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