LRT teacher Barbara Smith retires

Angela Park

How did you end up being a teacher at Wayland High School?
I was looking for a job, or I knew I had to be employed, and a friend of mine from the 70s was a liaison. He started asking if anybody in our circle of friends wanted to try for this job, and because I had a child with significant disabilities and was sort of good at writing, there were a couple of kids coming into that resource room, and it seemed like a good fit. And before I went into journalism in college, I had started getting a teaching certificate, but they actually closed the teachers’ college at Michigan State because it was just too full. There were turning up too many teachers.

Why did you choose the Learning Resource Team (LRT)?
Well when I interviewed for the job, it was for those particular kids under this particular liaison. The guy’s name was Brian Newmark. He was here a while ago. His picture is actually hanging on the wall, so I was interviewing for a job as a LRT liaison.

How long have you been working here?
11 years.

How did you decide to retire this year?
I’m 66. Time to go. Time to give my job to a younger person. So many unemployed young people these days. I have kids who are in their 20s. I have a daughter in New York City. I want to visit her more. I want to start visiting friends who are all around the country, and it’s also just a good age.

Do you know who will be replacing you?
I have no idea.

Was it a sudden decision for you?
I’ve been considering it for a while.

What will you remember about Wayland High School?
The children. The kids. I love the kids.

Will you be keeping in contact with people from here?
Oh yeah. Yes. I’m going to bring in dessert either on Thursday or Friday, whenever I feel like it. I’ve been thinking of doing a Key Lime Pie cook off, experiment with different recipes for Key Lime Pies. It’s just the best.

Will you continue to live in Massachusetts?
Oh absolutely. I live in Acton. I intend to live in Acton forever unless somehow I win a contest, and then I’ll buy a cottage on Lake Michigan. I have some relatives back in Michigan.

Do you have any parting words?
That’s a question that requires preparation. Be yourself. Be your best self. I like that. Enjoy life. Don’t worry about your grades. How about that? Don’t worry about your grades. Don’t worry. Be happy.

Do you have any hobbies you’ll be pursuing?
Oh God yes. Cleaning my house, gardening. I want to learn to sew. I have about 200 books to read. I want to start a political blog. I don’t know. Lots of stuff.

Do you have anything else to add?
Yeah, really. Don’t worry about grades.

Did you have a lot of students that worried about grades?
A lot of kids are really worried about grades. A lot of kids are really worried about grades. And I think you should always try, but the world is a very big place, and there are lots of opportunities. You just have to think about what you’re good at. The thing is you really have to always try, but you shouldn’t try to be something you’re not, especially if your parents are wanting one thing for you, and you want something else. You got to do what you want to do.