Hastings retires from Argos Elementary
ARGOS — Edie Hastings, recently retired JESSE teacher at Argos Elementary, always knew she wanted to teach, but it wasn’t until college that she decided on special education.
Hastings was working a summer job with the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) in Chicago when she witnessed volunteers working with handicapped children. Hastings knew that was something she wanted to do, and switched her major that fall from elementary education to special education. Hastings retired this spring from teaching after 25 years of teaching through JESSE, at Argos Elementary and six other locations.
“It was a lot of long hours,” said Hastings, who has been teaching K-6th grade special education classes for the past 10 years after teaching K-3rd previously.
“I had groups—sometimes it was kids of different grade levels with the same abilities,” continued Hastings.
Hasting’s students were also enrolled in regular classes, but would come to her classroom for subjects they needed extra help with. Hastings had a set number of kids every day — 22 in her last year of teaching — and others that she would see once or twice a week.
The most rewarding part of her job, said Hastings, was when students would finally grasp a concept they had been struggling with for a while.
“They’ve struggled so long and been told they couldn’t learn, and then coming into my room…”can’t” was not allowed in my class,” said Hastings.
“Every kid can learn,” continued Hastings, “I believe that. I don’t care how disabled they are — there is something they can learn.”
Hastings has been involved with the Marshall/Starke Special Olympics program for several years, and said that she is hoping the program will continue to grow.
“We want to keep it going, we want it to be strong,” said Hastings. “It gives (students) a way of saying, ‘Yes, I can do this, I do have skills.’”
Currently the Special Olympics program is in desperate need of volunteers and coaches. Interested individuals may contact Hastings at 574-721-9822.
Other than continuing to assist the Special Olympics, Hastings said that she does have some plans now that she is retired.
“I’m going to do some traveling—I square dance so I want to visit some states and go square dancing in different states,” said Hastings.
Hastings also said that she is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren.