Friday, June 03, 2011
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6th in a series of interviews with Logan County's retiring teachers

Jean Dumouchel leaving teaching after 28 years

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[June 03, 2011]  Jean Dumouchel is retiring from her third-grade teaching position at Chester-East Lincoln after almost three decades in education.

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 certificate.

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 leaves change.

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 special place."


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