A new Page in teacher’s saga

November 17, 2010 — by Sarah Hull and Parul Singh
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Retired teacher Paul Page teaches Mrs. Ritchie's English 11 Honors Classes

After teaching at Saratoga High for 35 years, English teacher Paul Page thought he was finished and retired at the end of the 2008-2009 school year. But guess what? He’s back!

As a favor to Natasha Ritchie, Page agreed to give up his relaxation time at home to teach her English 10 and English 11 Honors classes for six weeks while she is on maternity leave. Ritchie is expected to return Nov. 22.

“Mrs. Ritchie caught me in a moment of weakness six or seven months ago,” said Page. “I have seen what a marvelous young teacher she is and I really wanted to help her out so that she doesn’t have to worry about her classes.”

The students in the classes appreciate that they can learn from someone who has actually taught English before at Saratoga High.

“He really knows grammar, and he’s much better than some random person,” said junior Tiffany Kim.

Page has not just returned to the school he spent the majority of his career at, but also to the same classroom where he taught English for 18 years. Though the decorations and seating arrangement have changed, he still feels right at home.

“I hadn’t set foot in [that classroom] for a year,” said Page. “But when I walked in on my first day back it was almost as though I had never left. After a few days things just started to seem the same [as before].”

In the past year, Page has thoroughly enjoyed the independent and relaxing lifestyle that comes with retirement.

“I have really gotten to value the freedom that I have to pursue other interests and to not have many commitments in my life that are tied to a clock,” said Page.

Even though Page chose to come out of retirement to fill in for Ritchie, he does not plan to substitute again in the future.

“I’m not looking to be a substitute teacher as a regular thing,” said Page. “If somebody asked me to come back and sub I would think about it, but I really prefer [retirement].”

Page is, however, content to substitute for Ritchie because he knows that it has eased her mind to have someone familiar teaching her classes.

“It will be really satisfying for me if I can make things easier for [Ritchie],” said Page. “That’s all the motivation I needed to come back.”

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