Monday, June 06, 2011
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8th in a series of interviews with Logan County's retiring teachers

After 3 decades, Susan Foran leaving Chester-East Lincoln

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[June 06, 2011]  Susan Foran has been teaching for 33 years. She is retiring from her position as the kindergarten teacher at Chester-East Lincoln, but she has worn many hats during her time in the classroom.

HardwareShe taught early childhood in Pittsfield and then went to learning disabilities for a year for the Mid-State Special Education District, splitting her time between Morrisonville-Tovey and Edinburg-Kincaid. For three days per week she was in one set of towns; for two days she was in the other two towns. The next week she switched the number of days.

"I taught out of the trunk of my car," Susan remembers, "since I was always on the move. I had to keep things where I could get to them. I had four big bins with all my supplies in them."

After marrying, she and her husband moved to Lincoln, and she filled in as a substitute for several positions, including as an ag teacher at New Holland for one week, and as a special education teacher for Ida Johnson at Lincoln Community High School.

Then she was hired to teach kindergarten for a half-day session at Chester-East Lincoln. At the time the school had only one kindergarten session. In 1978, she was assigned to fourth- and fifth-grade reading and math. The next year, after Mrs. Dirker retired, she was back in the kindergarten classroom, and that has been her classroom ever since. Three members of the C-EL school board were Mrs. Foran's kindergarten students.

When she began teaching at C-EL, she was the cheerleading sponsor. The Stoltzenburgs were active at the school and helped with the sporting events. Mrs. Foran's husband, Tom, kept the scoreboard.

Susan graduated from Williamsville High School and then from Western Illinois University with a degree in special education.

"I grew up in a close-knit community and we didn't have to be entertained," she said. "We worked together as a team to get things done. That is how this school is and the way we get things done.

"The longer I've taught, the more things have changed," she said. "The academics have advanced, and we're teaching kindergarteners what first-graders used to learn. I realize how important reading and other skills are, but I want them to learn to be good little people and get along. They do their best."

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This year the school resurrected its Hog Wild Happenings weeklong event, providing the students with multiple opportunities to learn about agriculture. Mrs. Foran was part of the committee that planned the activity. She has also been involved with PBIS, a behavior incentive program.

She was more than happy to help the students learn about agriculture because she lives on a farm. Her husband and son farm with her brother, Roger, around Williamsville and southern Logan County. Her father is 95 years old and was also a farmer. He lives in the house his father built and where Susan and Roger grew up. The family farms hundreds of acres across several farms. And that is one reason she is looking forward to retirement.

"I want to be a farm wife and go to the field, run errands, be part of the whole process," she said. "I want to drive the trucks and watch the harvest. I love my classes and my students, but I can't wait to be home and be a real farm wife. I have envied my mother and mother-in-law because they could be there when everything came together. Now I can participate and make a contribution. I can help when they need me, instead of being the gofer when I get home from school. It is going to be great."


She doesn't plan to substitute teach after retirement. "I don't think I'll have time," she laughed.

"I will miss the kids and parents," she said. "I hope I've been a good part of their kids' growing up. It has been a lot of fun, and if my knees would stand it, I might consider another year or two. But I think I've been here long enough, and it is time for someone else to appreciate the fun you can have with these kids."  


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