Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
PORTALES—Bill Gaedke, instructor of Education Foundations at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales since August of 1994, has announced that he will retire effective July 1.
Gaedke, who becomes 75 in four months, says he will not watch life go by. "My plans are to be a student teacher supervisor in the greater Clovis area as well as re-enter Master's track and field," in which he became national Master's champion and four-event Master's All-American at 200, 400, 800, and 1500 meters in the 1970's and 1980's.
Before his 27-year career in education, Gaedke served in the United States Air Force, retiring in 1979 as chief master sergeant in the position of senior enlisted advisor to the commander, 27th Tactical Fighter Wing, Cannon Air Force Base.
Gaedke said that the legacy he wished to leave with his students is his enthusiasm for teaching. "I want them to be committed to excellence as teachers."
Among the ways Gaedke introduced his students to teaching was to videotape them while presenting lessons to their role-playing peers, and he had his students pair up to engage in spirited debates about "hot" educational topics. "I did the videotaping so that they could see and to be able to analyze their actions in delivering lessons. I added the debates so they could talk about and have to listen to both sides of controversial issues; for example, prayer in schools, corporal punishment, teacher extra duties, and academics versus extracurricular activities."
Gaedke, who has his B.S. and M.Ed degrees from ENMU, taught reading and elementary education courses in 1990, and was assigned to teach an EDF 222 section in the spring of 1991. The course is the mandatory prerequisite to a student's entering the teacher preparation program. Until the fall of 1997, when he was assigned to teach all four sections of EDF 222, Gaedke taught classes at ENMU, Clovis Community College, and for two years he was a social studies teacher and assistant track and volleyball coach at Clovis High School. He has been a public address voice of the Wildcats in football, basketball, volleyball and, occasionally, track, for 27 years.
Gaedke, who is a self-described "very reluctant retiree," agrees with his wife, Phyllis, that, "It's about time. I still have the energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to preparing prospective teachers," he maintains, but he intends to fulfill his goals by supervising student teachers, many of whom will undoubtedly be his former EDF 222 students. For them, in effect, he will be closing the loop.
One of Gaedke's former students, senior Kendall Sisneros, sang the praises of her former EDF 222 instructor. "Mr. Gaedke is a very personable guy. He remembered everyone's name in class." She added that he had lots of materials to help make the world's future teachers stronger. "He understood that students just don't learn in one way; they learn in several ways."
Sisneros said that one piece of advice holds true for those who want to become teachers. "He told us that it takes a lot to be a good teacher; it isn't easy," she said.
"I am going to mainly miss the students; they are what made this job a success for me," said Gaedke.