Chris Helfrich is ready to put down the books, textbooks that is.
The Northbrook resident has taught ancient history for 14 years and a learning resource assistant for two years, 16 years in all at .
This week Helfrich is retiring. Patch asked Helfrich a few things about her career in and her future plans - here's what she had to say.
What Will you Miss about Teaching?
I will certainly miss all the fun I had with my students learning about the ancient world and, of course, I will miss my colleagues more than I can say.
What Won’t You Miss about your Job?
Please Share some Anecdotes about Teaching
Although this isn’t about the students I had in class, it is a situation I found myself in which will always be a highlight in my career. Last year, Chris Callender came to Northbrook Junior High School on a Fulbright Teacher Exchange from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He exchanged jobs with my co-worker, Megan Yuhas-Stetka, who was in Belfast teaching in his position for the year. Not only did it become an amazing teaching experience, but a personal highlight as well. Chris lives near the area where my paternal grandmother was born and grew up before coming to the United States in 1907 and passing through Ellis Island. I was able to learn so much from him about the country she grew up in. Chris brought an intelligence, wit, creativity, and “brogue” that our students found intriguing, delightful, engaging, and interesting. We were able to try new, innovative lessons and strategies including an “Irish Week” which allowed our students to learn about the history of Ireland and all the problems they have encountered. We ended the week with an activity that centered around the possibility of the The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland uniting into one country and our last project was to create a flag the students thought might represent the unity of the two countries into one. It was truly inspiring.
Any Words of Wisdom to Incoming Faculty?
Please take time to learn the “culture” of the district. It is very important as you adjust in your new role as a teacher and colleague.
What are your Hopes for District 28?
My sincere wish is that District 28 always maintains the standards set by long-time Superintendent Dr. Homer O. Harvey. “Teaching, Learning, Caring” were the values and characteristic he inspired in all those whose lives he touched. My greatest hope is those values continue to guide all those who serve the district.
What Do you Plan to Do during Retirement particularly the First Year?
Spend more time with my family, catch up with friends, travel, and CLEAN OUT MY HOUSE!
What are you Looking forward to during Retirement?
I am especially looking forward to spending much more time with my family, especially my beautiful granddaughters! Traveling is definitely on the agenda, along with attending the NBJH Teachers’ Book Club (now that I will have much more time to read – something I want to read!).
Anything Else you'd Like to Add?
I have been blessed with a full life and loving family, a wonderful career that started in Northbrook (GBN - 1974-80) and now ends in Northbrook at Northbrook Junior High, many wonderful friends and colleagues, and the many students that have passed through the door of Room 319 in the past 14 years. I know they have all impacted my life in countless ways, too many to recount here. I am proud to have served my community in the role of teacher. It has been my honor and privilege to have been able to do so. I wish all of the families and students I have worked with bright futures, fulfilling experiences, and many, many blessings. I can only hope our paths will cross in the future.