Retired teachers return for another year


Issac Smith

Spanish teacher Jody Ziemann returns to teaching. She says she plans to continue to teach here for a few more years.

Issac Smith, Reporter

It is very uncommon for a retired teacher to return for anything other than being a substitute, but this year, two teachers are back to teach their original classes. Back in June, technology and engineering teacher Joel Johansen officially retired, but this year Johansen has come back.
“There is an extreme shortage of qualified technology and engineering teachers in the state. This shortage negatively impacted Berlin last spring in a big way. We had three tech ed teachers here. I retired in March. When my position was posted we had a couple interested applicants, but by the time we tried to interview them to see if they would be a great fit for Berlin, they had taken jobs elsewhere,” Johansen said.
The other two technology and engineering teachers had left BHS as well, leaving the students with no tech ed classes.
“Mr. Lammers decided to take a Tech Ed Teaching position closer to his home in Menasha. Then Mr. Willhite decided to leave education and go into manufacturing. This left BHS with three shop teacher openings and zero applicants,” Johansen said.
Johansen is not the only teacher to come back after retirement. Spanish teacher Jody Ziemann also returned from retirement.
“I returned because I was not ready to permanently retire, and I love the students and staff at BHS,” Ziemann said.
This eliminated the need for a new Spanish teacher, but there is still a lack of technology and engineering teachers, and Johansen is not going to stay forever.
“This school year is my last year at BHS. I will finally graduate with the seniors. On Sept 9th of this year I went back to my high school to celebrate my 40th reunion. On June 2, it will feel good to finally graduate from high school after so many years as a teacher,” Johansen said.
Ziemann on the other hand wants to keep teaching for a few more years as long as students remain interested.
“I know the decision made me very happy and I hope my students enjoy being in my classes,” Ziemann said.
Johansen wants to make sure students have a chance to learn about their interests when there is nobody else to teach it. Henceforth he says that he hopes students appreciate the work all teachers put into the students’ education.
“None of us are here for ourselves. Teachers as a whole are a group of people dedicated to serving others. That’s one of the reasons we are so replaceable. When I leave here at the end of the school year, there will be another teacher stepping in to work hard for Berlin without skipping a beat. That new teacher will bring new ideas, new enthusiasm and new perspective to BHS. That new teacher will have to learn the things it took me 30 years to learn, but they will be fine day one and better with each day after that. BHS will continue to improve,” Johansen said.