Retirement is bittersweet for Mrs. Gregory

Before Mrs. Gregory became a dedicated Eastern teacher for 27 years, she was inducted into the Eastern Hall of Fame “as a student for softball and field hockey.”

   Mrs. Gregory has always treasured her time at Eastern. However, she is ready to retire.

   Mrs. Gregory knew she wanted to go into teaching. “It’s a good profession, especially when raising a family,” she said. She holds degrees in special education, physical and health education, and elementary education. She taught at Camden Catholic for four years before making the switch to Eastern, where she would teach for twenty-seven years.

   At this point, she works with freshmen in science and health classes. One challenge she sees with this age group is their “false sense of security.” She said they still have their middle school expectations and need to learn that one needs the credits.

   One of the most rewarding parts of her job is being able to see her students grow for the remainder of high school after their freshman year. “They always come back as seniors and say where they are going to college,” she said.

   Focused in small groups of students, she mainly helps as in-class support. As a teacher working on the forefront of special education, Mrs. Gregory says that a common misconception is that other students “create a stigma.”

   There is no shame in admitting extra help in the classroom. Students need to speak out and ask for help to catch it early.

   Ms. DeCoursey, who co-teaches with Mrs. Gregory, said that “you wouldn’t be able to tell who actually needs the special help. Mrs. Gregory helps every student.”

  “Every student can benefit from multiple teachers in the class for help” said Gregory. DeCoursey and Gregory have taught together for seven years. “Especially in labs, it is good to have multiple teachers working at once, answering questions.”

   Mrs. Gregory is pleased to see that special education has improved over the years and is much more approachable. She hopes to see Eastern continue to nourish its diversity and teamwork, and she hopes Eastern will implement more class inclusion programs.

   “I have no specific plans for retirement,” said Mrs. Gregory. “Except wear sweatpants,” interjected Mrs. DeCoursey. Both teachers laughed, as Mrs. Gregory began to blush. “I want to help out with my family. My daughter is having her third baby,” she said. “[Retirement] is very bittersweet, but a new transition. I’ve made good friends here.”