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Worthing teacher retires after 30 years

This May Worthing Elementary’s second grade teacher, Pat Hoffman, will bid her last second grade class goodbye.

“I get pretty attached. I always cry the last day of school,” she said.

Hoffman has been sending second graders onto the next year of school for the past 29 years from the same classroom in Worthing Elementary. Before taking the second grade position in Worthing, she taught one year of middle school in Tea.

She is a lifetime resident of the Worthing area. She and her husband, Harvey, live on the farm that she grew up on southwest of Worthing. He attended Nelson Country School for the first eight years of school before graduating from Canton High School. She got her teaching degree from the University of Sioux Falls.

In her 30 years of teaching, she has seen a lot of changes. They went from no computers, to Apple IIe computers, to today’s technology. She also recalls using the ditto machine to make copies and using an overhead projector. Today she uses her computer and Smartboard daily to teach class and uses her television once a year to show a movie on at Christmastime.

“If I don’t have my computer or my Smartboard I can’t teach,” she said. “It’s so much fun now, except you don’t have a lot of time to do a lot of the little extras.”

She also noted that she switched from using desks to using tables where three or four students can sit together. She made the change about four years ago because they were doing a lot of collaborative work and pushing together uneven desks was getting to be a pain.

“Pat is the epitome of a collaborative teacher. Whenever someone needs to switch a recess or needs coverage in their classroom, she is the first to volunteer. She helps to make Worthing Elementary a fun place to work because of the crazy and fun teacher that she is. We will miss her like crazy,” said principal Kym Johnston.

In her classroom, she awards gumballs for reading at home, dresses up at the crystal ball lady to teach kids about spelling, teaches cursive writing and reads the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to her second graders.

“So many kids have gone to De Smet now because of that and they’re just so excited,” Hoffman said.

In addition to the kids, Hoffman will miss the staff in Worthing. Most of the teachers have been there since Tea left the district 14 years ago.

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