“I’d rather be teaching and have been fortunate enough to be doing what I’d rather do for four-plus decades,” she said.
Waller, who entered the field of education in 1971 and two years later transferred to the Douglas County School System, was recognized last week as the longest-tenured Douglas school system employee retiring this year.
She was one of 84 retiring school system employees honored last week by the school system at a luncheon at the Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club in Douglasville.
A native Atlantan who is married and has three grandchildren, Waller said she was as anxious to start teaching her final classes this year as on her first day on the job.
“I have always believed that although I am building a foundation for my students to succeed as they move from one grade level to another, I am really preparing them to be successful in their chosen careers after school,” she said.
One element of teaching Waller looked forward to each year was getting to know a new set of students.
“Each of my classes was different and offered a distinct challenge,” said Waller, who taught at Lithia Springs since its opening in 1975. “However, getting to know my students and discovering how to lead them to best understanding the lessons I taught was a challenge I looked forward to.”
Although dedication to her students was always the main reason she taught, another element, which Waller called the “politics of education,” gave her the biggest headaches.
“The political element was always the most frustrating to me,” she said.
“Any time a new education regime came in at the state or national level, there were always changes in policies or procedures.”
Waller plans to remain heavily involved with the Junior League after retirement, “and be able to do things with them that I had been unable to do because I was teaching.”