Teacher Tuesday: MCC’s Linn Urka, a bittersweet retirement. 

April 14, 2020

Lynn Urka

Teacher Tuesday: MCC’s Linn Urka, a bittersweet retirement. 

By Kate Krieger, MCP Staff Writer.

Teacher Tuesday is a presentation of Metalworks. Metalworks is a small, family-run company with facilities located in Ludington and Manistee, manufacturing metal office filing systems. Be sure to show your support by liking the Metalworks Facebook page here.

Mason County Press is featuring area educators each week in a series called “Teacher Tuesday.” We will be choosing different educators from Mason County.

SCOTTVILLE – Waiting until her three young sons entered school full time, Linn Urka then decided that she wanted to go to college and become a teacher.

I graduated in 1978 from Ludington High School,” she said. “Twenty years later, I got my teaching degree from Grand Valley State University. I wanted to be at home with my boys until they started school before I went to work.”

The Ludington native received her first job at Baldwin Community Schools as a kindergarten teacher. After that first year, she accepted an offer to teach fifth grade at Mason County Central Middle School.

With 22 years of teaching under her belt, Urka submitted papers earlier in the school year for her retirement, what she didn’t know was that her last year in the classroom wasn’t going to be business as usual.

“As far as the current situation, it has taken everyone by surprise including me,” she said. “I’m sorry that I won’t get the closure that I thought I would and I also feel there will be a void in my classroom because there will always be a missing piece and that is the personal goodbye.”

Although Urka won’t be able to spend her last days teaching in the same room as her students, she will be able to interact with them by virtual learning and she hopes she will be able to see all her students and coworkers when the state returns to its normal schedule.

Urka always knew she wanted to become a teacher and she always had a special place in her heart for children. During retirement, she said she is looking forward to spending time with her family and doing things she doesn’t get to do as much when she’s working.

“Retirement, wow!” she said. “I am looking forward to spending time with my four grandchildren. My husband and I have a long bucket list. We would like to travel and see more of the countryside in our Jeep.”

Through the years Urka has been in the classroom, she said a lot of things have changed and she would like to see certain things handled a bit differently for the next generation of teachers.

“It has changed a lot,” she said. “If I could change something, I would like the educator to be in charge of education. The legislature seems to get overly involved in an area that it has little expertise in. Teachers know teaching and our voices need to be heard.”

Urka urges anyone who wants a rewarding career to think about teaching. Not only is the job rewarding, but she said having a great group of coworkers and students makes it even more special.

I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every coworker that I have had the pleasure to work with,” she said. “I would like to say to them, ‘Thank you.’ To my students, I hope I’ve influenced your life as much as you have influenced mine.”

The staff and students, past and present, will miss Urka for all that she has done to enrich the lives of those she has worked with and she said the feeling is mutual.

“I enjoy going to work every day,” she said. “I enjoy the interaction with the kids. I enjoy watching the kids grow as learners. I enjoy the people I work with. It has been a wonderful career for me and I see no reason why a person looking for a challenging career shouldn’t go into it as well.”

This story is copyrighted © 2020, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.


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