After 44 years of teaching, Mrs. Brattstrom passes on the torch

When looking back at her 19 years at Eastern, Mrs. Brattstrom has nothing but good things to say. 

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As the 2019 school year approached, Mrs. Brattstrom felt it was time to move on from teaching the likes of Frankenstein or Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

  With many of her family members living out of state, including her one-year-old grandson, the flexibility of retirement will allow her to spend time with her grandson and visit family more often. “I never thought that I would leave in the middle of the year, but I want to be with my family at times when we don’t have school breaks,” said Mrs. Brattstrom.

  Upon graduating from Kean University, Mrs. Brattstrom began her career as a substitute teacher in 1975 in Central Jersey, before marrying and moving to Glassboro, where she provided supplemental instruction for three years. She received her first full-time teaching job in 1979 at Penns Grove Regional High School. She began teaching English at Eastern in 2001.

  Mrs. Brattstrom’s impact has reached far beyond the classroom walls. A number of her former students are now successful teachers at Eastern, such as Mr. Tyrell, Mr. Isshak, and Mrs. Liberti. 

  One of the things she will miss most about teaching are her students, primarily the students she keeps in touch with after high school. “They keep me young. It’s always nice when they come back to visit,” she said. A number of years ago, a former student of hers had told her about his Composition professor at Rutgers, who warned students not to expect any better than a D on their first essay. “He was very excited to tell me that he ended the class with an A because of what he had learned about writing a paper during his senior year of high school,” said Mrs. Brattstrom.

  Aside from being able to spend more time with family, Mrs. Brattstrom looks forward to traveling and reading for her own pleasure. “That has had to be on the back burner during the school year, so my time for it [reading] is limited to the summer.” 

  Mrs. Brattstrom is also a passionate dog-lover. “I would like to spend more time with my dogs and start up pet therapy with them again,” which consists of taking her dogs to places such as nursing homes or special-needs classrooms.

  In some instances, retirees feel like they have too much time on their hands, but Mrs. Brattstrom is not worried. “When I was at home while my children were in school, I had much more time to pursue my hobbies, and yet it seemed as if the days were never long enough,” said Mrs. Brattstrom.

  While entering retirement can be exciting, she realizes it will be hard to say goodbye to the only profession she has known for the past four decades. 

  “I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with amazing faculty and people from all departments in the district who have enriched my life, and I know I’m going to miss them. It’s time to pass on the torch.”