Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) teacher Celia Hayes is retiring.
The Uncas Grade 4 teacher has been teaching for more than 40 years, more than twenty of which have been at Uncas Elementary. She has had close to 1000 students.
Hayes began her career as a Grade 1 teacher at Ministik School in 1975, twenty years before EIPS existed. In the time since, she has taught almost every grade in elementary school.
"Classrooms have evolved so much since then, especially in terms of how we use technology in delivering our lessons," said Hayes. "But what's stayed the same is that relationship between teaching and learning. You still have to figure out how each student thinks and learns and what practices will have a lasting impact in terms of helping them learn and grow."
Hayes recalls a time she helped a Grade 2 student improve his reading skills by attaching labels to objects around the classroom.
"It's those moments when you see a student make a breakthrough and truly begin to understand something that it really hits home for me that this is an incredibly special profession."
She has taught at several schools in the area, including Fort Saskatchewan Elementary and Win Ferguson Elementary.
While Hayes is unsure of her exact retirement plans, she's definitely excited about one thing: "The first day of winter when the weather turns and the roads are bad -- instead of getting in my car, I'm looking forward to sitting at home with a cup of coffee in my hand, my feet up and enjoying being warm."
Celia Hayes is one of 50 EIPS employees retiring this year.