The final bell, part 2 of 3

by Susan McFarland

North Texas Catholic

Galine Baker teaches at St. Andrew School in Fort Worth. (NTC photo/Jayme Shedenhelm)


A teacher’s day can be hectic, unpredictable, and emotional. In May, the craziness multiplies with final papers to grade, multi-page checklists of tasks to be done before the final day of school, and boxing up supplies for the summer.

The North Texas Catholic was invited to spend a little time with three area teachers who will be packing up their classroom for the final time, something that brings a new set of emotions as they say goodbye to the work they love.

Combined, these three teachers have more than 100 years of experience between them and have been a blessing to so many children. However, the teachers are the ones who feel blessed by the experience.

Each shares a little about their family, their faith, their teaching experience, and what they plan to do with life after the classroom. Here's our second teacher:

Galine Baker, St. Andrew Catholic School in Fort Worth

  • English language arts teacher
  • Length of employment: 40 (and a half) years
  • Family: Married for 42 years — widowed in 2010; one daughter, two sons, two grandchildren. “My daughter is a cantor at St. Patrick.  My granddaughter and grandson attended St. Andrew School from pre-K3 and kindergarten to eighth grade and graduated from Nolan High. I was privileged to be able to teach both of them during their middle school years. I’m a proud grandmother!”
  • Parish: St. Bartholomew since 1978, where she is involved in various ministries there including Women’s Club, hospital ministry, usher, parish council, and lector. “I have also been involved in some diocesan programs, the most significant being a delegate to the First Synod of the Diocese of Fort Worth.”
Galine Baker (NTC photo/Jayme Shedenhelm)

 
On Catholic faith:

Baker is a cradle Catholic, born and raised in the Church, and attended Catholic school from kindergarten to 12th grade.  She also attended a Catholic university for two years, Xavier University in New Orleans.

Baker said she has nurtured her faith through participation in numerous Catholic programs including Marriage Encounter, Cursillo, Life in the Spirit, Monserrat Retreats, Bible studies, Why Catholic?, and ACTS Retreats.

On teaching:

“I consider teaching in a Catholic school a ministry.  It is different from teaching in public schools which I experienced for many years,” Baker said. “We begin each class with prayer and write about quotes from the saints weekly. And we go to Mass weekly! To be able to bring Jesus into our discussions about the selections we read is big.”

Baker said because of the attitudes of the secular world today, it is extremely important for students to be immersed in the teachings of Jesus and the Catholic Church.

“While they are here, our students take these things for granted, but I believe they appreciate it more when they go out into the world, especially those who go to public schools,” she said.

Baker said she hopes her students will remember her as a teacher who knew her subject well, who encouraged them to work hard and do their best, who insisted on them being reverent in church at all times, who expected them to treat everyone with respect, and who made them smile and even laugh often.

“I love teaching and love my students. I believe that they recognize that,” she said. “I will miss the interaction with my colleagues and my students.  I am a total extrovert who is energized being in the company of people. I know I will miss that.”

On retirement:

Baker said she plans to spend her days with family in Michigan and Florida for extended visits, volunteer at her church, and volunteer at Catholic Charities Fort Worth to work with refugee children.

She also plans to substitute teach one or two days a week. … “Gradual withdrawal,” she said.

Second of three parts highlighting teachers who are retiring: “I consider teaching in a Catholic school a ministry. We begin each class with prayer and write about quotes from the saints weekly. And we go to Mass weekly! To be able to bring Jesus into our discussions about the selections we read is big,” said Galine Baker.

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