WESTON, Conn. For the past 24 years, Judy Stone has enjoyed her students "desire to do well in spite of difficulties along the way."
The students in her classes are struggling academically or emotionally, and Stone has helped them prepare for mainstream courses. In June, she will step down as a teacher at Weston Middle School.
Stone said she has given her students independence something that took her a long time to get used to. "It's more fun that way," she said.
She cites a story from about 10 years ago, when a student named Brian in her class always used big words correctly, but he had "no sense of the meaning." "He raised his hand and said, 'Hypothetically, Mrs. Stone.' I said, 'hypothetically what?' And he said, 'Oh, just hypothetically. It's just a nice word,'" Stone said.
Stone plans to spend more time with her grandchildren and volunteer at the Mercy Learning Center after she retires.
Stone will miss her students when she retires June 24. "Every year, I always end up loving them," she said. "I like the enthusiasm of the eighth grade student, and they still have a certain amount of naiveté I love this age group."
Jason, one of her students, drew the Weston school grounds on a large poster while in Stone's class. Two years later, his brother, Ryan, completed another poster that included the recently constructed intermediate school. "They had the same drawing style," said Stone, who still has the two posters on her wall and plans to leave them for the next teacher.
Since Stone began teaching, she said the kids' lives have "become more complicated and pressures have lead to anxiety." At the same time, "the curriculum continues to get more and more challenging. Especially in science and math the hoops are higher it's hard," said Stone.
Did you or your children have Judy Stone as a teacher? Share your stories from her classroom in the comments box below.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.