PORTLAND -- After 41 years at Glenfair Elementary School in Northeast Portland, third grade teacher, Kathy Schuman, celebrated her last, "last day of school" on Wednesday.
Schuman, 62, began teaching at Glenfair in 1972 after completing her student teaching, also at Glenfair.
Schuman said she'd known she wanted to be a teacher since her first day of school in Oregon City where she grew up.
"We call (teaching) a vocation but it's a calling," said Schuman. "It's more than just punching in a time clock. You're actually doing something that changes the lives of the people around you."
During her time at Glenfair, Schuman taught more than 1,000 kids with her gentle but firm teaching style. Watching her in the classroom, it's clear the kids respect her because Schuman respects them.
"I just can't imagine Glenfair without Kathy Schuman," said longtime friend and colleague, Sally Rudnick. "She just makes a difference for everybody she teaches, and the teachers learn from her, as well."
A lot has changed in 41 years, including Schuman's hair color and style of her glasses, but not her teaching style.
Schuman has always believed kids learn best through hands-on experience, and she doesn't think today's standardized tests can truly measure their intelligence.
"To me, education is the most important thing there is," said Schuman. "It's the biggest gift you can give a child."
Schuman said she plans to stay busy in retirement, volunteering with Portland Parks & Recreation, Habitat for Humanity, and spending time at the Oregon coast.
She also plans to destroy her alarm clock.