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Evansville, Indiana
May 10, 1996     The Message
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May 10, 1996

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'The Message "for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Patricia Koch St. Joseph teacher is retiring after 38 years in classro'om By MARY ANN HUGHES Message staff writer When Patricia Koch closes her classroom door this June, she will close a career that has spanned 38 years and touched thousands of children's lives. Since 1956, she has taught at St. Joseph School, Vanderburgh County. She currently teaches science, social studies and reli- gion to sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Her days begin when she ar- rives at St. Joseph School at 6 in the morning, and end about 5:30 in the evening when she closes up the day care center. She says teaching is a dream come true, and that she loves her students, "even the scalawags." Growing up in Evansville, she had a burning desire to teach. Instead, she married and began her family. She served as presi- dent of the PTO at St. Joseph, and when one of the teachers began having health problems, Koch was asked to help out. A small table and a chair were placed right next to her desk for her three-year-old son John. "The kids just fell in love with him, and he sat there and col- ored." And she became hooked on teaching. She began attending summer classes at St. Benedict College in Ferdinand, and she joined the faculty at St. Joseph School. After the birth of her third child, the pastor called and asked, "Can you come back. I have someone to watch your baby." She agreed to return to her classroom, explaining, "I love my kiddos, don't get me wrong, but I felt like I was living when I closed my door and started like I was living when I osed my door and started teaching. That was my joy. teaching. That was my joy." She taught fourth grade for 11 years, and then moved to the middle school level. "I thought fourth grade was ideal, but when ! moved up, I found I re- ally like working with young adults." She believes it's because "I have a good rapport with them. I'm a good listener, and they know when they tell me some- thing, it won't go any further. They've always been very honest with me. I know they have prob- lems, and they know I under- stand." She says her favorite time of the day is in the morning when the students pray. "We pray the Lord's Prayer, and then they can pray for something that's both- ering them. I feel it's important they learn there are problems and that they learn to pray. "We pray for people we know who are sick, parishioners who are sick, and you can feel they are really concerned." She reminds her students to "lead each day as if it's their last, because you never know, and you want to be in the right step with God." She says she tries to prepare her middle school students for high school by encouraging them to "be yourself, be individualis- tic. They hear me say that quite often, 'Be true to yourself.'" Koch said if she had to live her life over again "I would be here with bells on. I thank the dear Lord for letting me be here all these years." Kimball International Jasper, Indiana ii: . Patricia Koch talks with students at St. Joseph Vanderburgh County. She will be retiring this June 38 years of teaching. -- Message photo by M She hopes to travel during her retirement years, but she has also put her name in on the sub- stitute teaching list. And she will continue with after school day care. "I don't think I could just walk off from kids cold turkey." A reception is planned for May 17, from 4:30 to 7:30, in the St. Joseph staff, former ents are invited.  v : Cards may be Joseph School, Joseph Rd., EvanSV .... 47720. "I hope a lot come in and all Koch said, adding, excited about that." : FLOWERS & MORE Complete Floral Service FREE SERVICING ALL CITY-WIDE AREA HOSPITALS DELIVERY & FUNERAL HOMES (812) 424-8931 1-800-545-7296 Bob Jacobs 1100 West Franklin St., Evansville Organist Needed For 5:00 p.m., Saturday evening Mass at Corpus Christi Catholic Church. 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