Mrs. Smith Retires

After 33 years of teaching in the Living Waters School Division, Mrs. Debbie Smith is retiring.

“I’ve done what I can,” says Smith. “A number of students I teach and have taught have graduated or are now moving into high school, so it feels like this is the best time to move on.”

Smith started her career in 1989 at Vanier Community Catholic School, which was a K-12 school at the time.

“My first classroom was a grade 5/6 class,” she says. “I always said that I would only spend one year in Edson. But then I moved here, and eventually met my husband, and the rest is history.”

Smith then moved on to teach grade 6 for six years before moving into junior high and teaching grade 7. 

In 2003, she joined the junior and senior high teachers as they moved into the newly opened Holy Redeemer. There she would start teaching grade 7. Soon after, she was assigned to the Inclusive Education Program where she would teach the Knowledge and Employability classes, and help coordinate the Lifeskills Program (later named Beyond the Classroom). It is here where she will be missed the most as she became a steady rock for understanding students with learning needs and teaching students (and teaching teachers how to teach students) with learning disabilities. 

Throughout her teaching career, she and her husband also raised three sons, the youngest of which is graduating this year. “I took time off to raise the boys when they were young,” she says. “This is something that I’ll always remember. That time together was so precious.”

In the world of teaching, Smith has the fondest memories of teaching the K&E and BTC students, especially watching them grow from grade 7 to graduating from high school in grade 12.

When asked what Smith will miss the most about teaching, she said, “Definitely the students and staff. Working with students is why I became a teacher. Having the honour to watch them grow since grade 7 to become amazing adults is something that means a lot to me. Not to mention, I had the pleasure of working with some pretty outstanding people.”

Smith also gave some very inspirational advice to anyone who wishes to teach Inclusive Education. “Get to know the students. Get to know where they come from. Show them that you care. They are all individuals and they all have some pretty amazing gifts.”

Now that retirement is upon Smith, the big question is what she plans to do next. “Whatever I want,” she said with a smile. “But seriously, I want to spend time with my adult sons and visiting family in Saskatchewan.” On top of that, Smith also wants time for herself to do some of her hobbies that include crafting and baking.

As she departs HRH and her teaching career, and listens to the school bell for the very last time, Smith said, “I don’t regret a single day. I had an amazing career with amazing people that I’ll miss dearly.”

And the students, staff and school community are going to miss her too.

Enjoy your retirement, Mrs. Smith.