Written by David Hatz, Teacher, Coach, Statistician (ret.)


           The ink had barely dried on my required letter of retirement that I had just emailed to
the district office, when my cellphone lit up. Caller ID indicated it was a former colleague
(assuming, of course, his phone hadn’t been stolen). Fortunately, hearing his voice when I
answered assured me that he was in possession of said phone. It should be noted here that I
forewarned several of my closer associates that I was not coming back.
           He expressed sadness at learning that I was closing the book on my teaching career. We
spent several minutes recalling good times, from chaperoning college trips to sharing the
spotlight at CSF banquets, to PLC and faculty meetings (OK, maybe the memories aren’t all
good), to visiting prom, to simple lunchtime and Saturday school conversations.
Then the discussion turned to the present. He shared his desire to teach an online
cooking class through the afterschool program, and then asked how I was enjoying retirement.
As I am still a rookie in the retirement game, and the COVID-19 pandemic has severely
restricted social activities, let’s say the opening weeks of my golden years have been
something less than stop-the-presses, front-page news: I sleep in (sometimes as late as 6:30
a.m.); I leisurely read the newspaper now on a daily basis (not just weekends); I’m catching up
on my reading; Lily (our Golden Retriever) and I take longer and more frequent walks; and, I
look for tasks around the house to keep from going crazy (and out of trouble with my better –
and still working – half).
           Not surprised, and confirming what he already knew (I have time on my hands), and,
most importantly, acutely aware of the fact that I have trouble saying no – especially to
students – he gently suggested that I might enjoy contributing to the Spartan Blog.
           He assured me “there’s no pressure,” and “you don’t have to do this.”
           This teacher knew exactly what he was doing. Did he really think a guy who spent 27
years in the newspaper business (I didn’t become a teacher until I was 49) was going to pass on
a chance to share his thoughts and opinions? Students note: that is a rhetorical question.
           But even if I wavered, my colleague and friend had a secret weapon. He had sophomore
Cecilia Ymaz contact me. Teachers, if you haven’t had her yet as a student, I truly hope you get
the opportunity before she graduates. She’s cut from the same mold as her older sister, Valeria
CVH class of 2014, UCLA class of 2018). My only regret is that Cecilia will not be an AP English
student of mine as well.
           I shall keep secret the identity of the teacher who talked me into doing this. You’re
welcome, Mr. Mallory.
           Seriously, I look forward to writing as a way of staying connected with Sparta until
better times allow us to be together again.
           What will I write about? I’m not sure. But I can promise you this: I will be positive,
lighthearted, and humorous (I hope). And, yes, occasionally sarcastic – my former students
wouldn’t want it any other way. And as a lover and lifelong student of English, it is safe to say
there will be some language lessons and tips included. I’ll do my best to make them interesting.
           Until next time, stay safe, stay involved. And, students, do your homework.