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A teacher who started out as a physical education instructor found her passion to be teaching sixth-grade language arts.
Paula Quatman, who recently retired from the Wapakoneta City School District, enjoyed being a sixth-grade teacher at Wapakoneta Middle School.
“I love being a sixth-grade teacher,” Quatman said. “It’s an interesting age. They are eager to learn. They understand humor and are pretty sweet kids.”
Quatman said she and her fellow colleagues had a blast with different units, including a Greek mythology lesson, the Medieval Fair, the Biography Fair and Story Bowl — which are units that the students look forward to as they entered into the sixth grade.
“I’m very fortunate our administration allows us to go to middle school conferences,” Quatman said. “We get so many wonderful teaching idea there.”
While the sixth-graders do not participate in the Medieval Fair anymore, the teachers are always working on new ideas for the students to learn from, including Pride Day, which was a new event this year which taught the students about civil duties in their community.
“I have had a lot of fun teaching sixth-grade,” Quatman said. “Our whole goal was to make it a really fun experience.”
Quatman, who is a 1973 graduate of Wapakoneta High School, studied at Adrian College, in Michigan, where she earned her degree in physical education. She taught physical education at Northridge and Centennial elementary schools.
Quatman knew she wanted to be a physical education teacher when she was in junior high, and she was inspired by her teacher, Bev Little.
“I thought she was just wonderful,” Quatman said. “She was very active.”
Quatman taught this subject for a number of years with two other physical education teachers at the local elementary schools. She then taught one day a week, while she went back to college.
Quatman earned her elementary education certification for elementary, middle school and junior high from The Ohio State University-Lima in 1989.
In 1990, there was an opening for a sixth-grade position, which she filled, and has loved ever since.
“The kids obviously never cease to amaze you,” Quatman said. “They make you smile.”
Quatman enjoyed teaching language arts, especially developing stories.
“I love to develop stories and take a story and make it interesting,” Quatman said.
Quatman’s goal was always to keep the material new and fresh for the student to learn.
“I love this job, it has been the best career,” Quatman said. “Being fulfilled professionally is a dream.”
She said she will miss the routine and the people she works with.
“I’ll miss the whole wishing for snow and fog delays,” Quatman said with a laugh. “We’re just like the kids — all of that kind of stuff is fun.”
When Quatman was asked why she decided to retire after 35 years of teaching, she said it was time.
“Thirty-five seemed like a magic number,” Quatman said. “I felt like it was time for someone else to come in and start their career.”
Quatman said she plans to take it one day at a time now that she is retired, and work on her hobbies of calligraphy, going golfing and doing more traveling.
“I have four sisters and we are hoping to do some traveling together,” Quatman said.
Quatman and her husband, Ed, met in college, and currently reside in Lima. They have three children, Chas, Ben and Adrienne.
Quatman and her husband are also planning to do more traveling, especially with a trip with Hilton Head, S.C., and Cancun, Mexico in the works— and they plan to visit family’s lake house in Indiana this summer with the whole family.