During her career, Mrs. Dumouchel taught junior high reading, fourth
grade, kindergarten and third grade.
But she originally thought
she would study for a degree in social work. She worked part time at
a day-care center while in college and majored in sociology with a
psychology minor. She enjoyed being with the children but never
thought about connecting that to her classes. Only years later did
she return to school for her teaching certificate.
Jean went to George Williams College in LaGrange for her
sociology degree. She met her future husband, Jim, at the school,
and after they married, the couple moved to Springfield. She
returned to the classroom, studying at Sangamon State University
(later renamed University of Illinois Springfield) for her teaching
After teaching part time one year in Beason, she was hired for a
full-time position at Chester East-Lincoln. Initially, she was hired
for junior high reading, and she was in that position for two years.
But as student enrollment numbers shifted, she was moved to fourth
grade for 18 years, then to kindergarten. Most recently she has been
the third-grade teacher, and it is from that position she will
retire at the end of the school year.
"This school is like a good family," Mrs. Dumouchel said about
the small school. "There is a good staff and small classes, usually
with around 18 students. Everything is so nice here, and we work
together to get things done and to make things work. Iíve never
considered being anywhere else."
While at C-EL, she and other teachers created a writing program,
Video Ventures. Students would record their material and share the
recitations with other classes. She had fun and felt that promoting
Earth Day activities gave the students an opportunity to learn about
recycling and reusing everyday materials and to be more responsible.
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"I still love all the parts of teaching I have experienced," Jean
explained when talking about her retirement, "and all of this has
been a big part of my life. But it is time."
After a total of 28 years in the classroom, she will miss her
students and the companionship of the other teachers in the
building, but there are things to look forward to that she also
enjoys. She likes to read and will probably spend more time on
crafts, weaving and candy-making. She has considered entering some
of her items in the competition at the fair.
Her husband also retired this year, and they will be free to
travel. New Mexico is one place she would like to see when they
decide to go. And she would like to go somewhere and watch the
And, of course, there are the grandchildren. Her daughter lives
in Bloomington and has two daughters of her own, ages 4 and 5. Her
son lives in Jacksonville, Fla., and teaches at the college level.
He and his wife had their first child, a daughter, on March 29.
There will be more time to visit family, and there are always
places to explore.
"I will miss this place," Jean said about C-EL, "The main thing
always was that families and staff work together and feel like
family. Now someone new can begin to enjoy their time here. It is a
[By MARLA BLAIR]
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