Working until the end

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Above: AHS student Amber Armstrong is helped by retiring family and consumer sciences teacher Debbie Posey. Right: Algebra II student Hunter Dendy listens to retiring math teacher John Beasley. | Kendra Bolling/ Star-News

When the doors close for the summer students and staff will say “goodbye” to nearly 60 years of experience with the retirement of two longtime educators.

Math teacher John Beasley, who has taught at AHS for 38 1/2 years, and Debbie Posey, family and consumer sciences teacher for the past 18 1/2 years, said it’s a bittersweet ending.

Posey graduated from AHS in 1982, pursued her undergraduate degree in home economics, worked for the State of Alabama for five and a half years and has been at AHS ever since.

“Mr. Beasley was my geometry teacher,” she said. “I’ve never been without him at AHS.”

Posey said it was great teachers like Beasley and former home economics teacher Louise Yeargain who made her want to be a teacher.

“I loved my home economics teacher,” she said. “She made it so much fun, and I try to do the same for my students. I loved my job, and I would have never done anything else.”

Posey said loving her job has kept her coming back day after day.

And it’s love for his students that has kept Beasley at AHS for nearly four decades.

“I’ve enjoyed it, and I still do,” he said. “The kids and the faculty have made it enjoyable. I’m going to miss it.”

Beasley said he’s enjoyed coming to his job and teaching a subject he loves.

Beasley said he found out about the position at AHS while interning in Mobile.

“I received a letter from a placement bureau from UA,” he said. “The letter said the job was available. So, I came for the interview and stayed a day. I was supposed to be observing while I was here, but I wound up subbing before I actually got hired.”

Beasley said he took Roger Tomberlin’s place in January 1973, and said since that time, has taught both parents and their children.

Both Beasley and Posey said the curriculum has changed somewhat over the course of their careers.

“The technology has changed it,” Beasley said. “We used to have textbooks and worksheets, now we have web-based options.”

Posey said home economics is now called family and consumer sciences and is more career-oriented.

“But two things haven’t changed,” she said. “How you measure and how you treat others.”

So, what’s in store for their retirements?

“Both my brother-in-law and sister-in-law have businesses,” Posey said. “But right now, my son is getting married in August, so there’s plenty to do.”

Beasley said he’s going to “pull weeds, cut grass and work on the ‘honey-do-list.’”

“My wife is half way down the second page of a legal sheet of paper,” he laughed.