I noted the recent retirement of two Howard County school principals, Robert Childers of Glenwood Middle School and Marchmont Girod of Oakland Mills Middle School.
This hit home for me because I had the pleasure of working with both of these gentlemen during my 10-year Howard County teaching career, which ended in 1977.
Bob Childers got his first vice principal's job at Ellicott City Middle School and his first principalship there. I was there for bothevents.
I owe a lot to Childers. He helped me get through an extremely difficult final year of teaching. I was pretty well burned out,and I wanted to be as effective as possible for the remainder of theyear.
It was with his help that I was able to do it. I was able to leave teaching at the end of the year on good terms with everyone involved.
Bob Childers cared about everyone he dealt with -- the students, the teachers, the parents and the other staff members. He wasa good listener and was open to everyone's ideas on how to make the school operate smoothly and efficiently.
He was an involved principal, not one who holed up in his office and let the vice principal handle everything.
As for Marchmont Girod, I worked with him for only a few months during the early 1970s at Ellicott City Middle School.
Our principal at the time, Oscar J. Schneider, was in the hospital recovering from an illness, and Girod was assigned to us until his return. He had been working at the central office while his new school, Dunloggin Middle, was being completed.
March Girod was also an effective administrator.
Even though he was with our staff only briefly, he treated us like his own school staff and kept things going smoothly in Schneider's absence.
Many of us were sorry to see him go, even though we liked our own principal.
Being a middle school principal has to be one of the toughest jobs in education. Pupils ages 12 to 16 belong to one of the most difficult age groups.
So muchis happening to them at this time. They're changing from children toadults, yet they can't be considered or treated as either. They present their own special problems.
I remember a professor I had who referred to the children of this age group as being "temporarily insane."
If you can get through this period with them, they will becomehuman again soon after.
I dread when my 7-year-old son will enterthis age group. We get along fairly well now, and I hope the lines of communication will stay open then.
So I feel that these two finegentlemen have more than earned their retirement. They've probably dealt with more than their share of difficult situations. But I'm surethey have a lot of fulfilling experiences to look back upon as well.
I wish both of them well in their new endeavors after their many years of service to Howard County. For me, it was a pleasure working with them.
On a related but much sadder note, I read that another person I had worked with at Ellicott City Middle passed away recently. Philip J. Bevans died June 17 at his home in Ellicott City. He was 80. Until his retirement in the 1970s, he had been a special education teacher in the county.
I remember him at Howard High in the '50swhen my mother was the librarian there. Bevans was at Ellicott City Middle the entire time I was there, from 1967 to 1977.
He taught his students responsibility as well as their subject matter. I learnedfrom his experience when I was a new teacher. He had a good sense ofhumor, and I enjoyed the conversations we had.
I always said I would stop over and see him after he retired, but I never got around toit. I regret that very much now.