51 Years Of Teaching & Still Going Strong

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Walk into the art room at Indian River Middle School, and you'll find Tracy Robertson teaching the same subject he has taught for the last 50 years. 

What has kept him so long? 

"The kids," he said.

It's clear how much Robertson cares about his students because he immediately tears up.

"There is a great need, aside from education.  You're learning about their life socially speaking, growing up, especially at this age," he said.

Robertson began his career at the high school in 1962 and moved to the middle school in the late 80's.

A lot has changed in all those years, but Robertson says one thing has stayed the same:  the kids.

"I think it's what you do in a classroom that determines that and demands that in a nice way so I feel I get the respect I need," he said.

It's not hard to find people whose lives were touched by Robertson, including the middle school assistant principal, who took his art class in 7th grade.

"If you can make a positive connection with a student and be able to have someone to go to when you're having a bad day, Mr. Robertson is that type of teacher," said Elizabeth Culbertson, the assistant principal.

Robertson plans to be that type of teacher at least for a few more years. 

He says he'll know when it's time to retire.

"Somebody says when it happens, you'll see it on the shelf and I'll know it's time to quit," he said.

At the end of the last school year, there were 24 teachers in the state with 51 years or more of teaching experience.

That's out of more than 280,000 teachers statewide.
 

Friday, October 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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