After graduating with her teaching degree, Renee Krispin could not find a full-time teaching job that she liked.
So she decided to work as a substitute teacher until in March 1996, another teacher’s aide left the Waterloo school district.
Krispin was hired to replace that person, returning to her hometown school district.
“It was just kind of like a foot in the door at the district,” Krispin recalled.
That step not only got her in the district – it kept her there for 24 years. She retired at the end of this school year.
“I’m glad I did it,” the special education teacher said. “It was a great career for me and Waterloo’s a great school district that was good to be part of.”
Krispin, who has a bachelor’s from McKendree University and a master’s from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, first worked at Waterloo Middle School.
That school eventually became Rogers Elementary School, where Krispin taught fifth graders before she spent the last two years teaching fourth graders.
In her tenure, Krispin said she most enjoyed going on field trips, learning about new students every year and seeing old students come back to visit her after they moved to the next grade.
“It’s just been a lot of fun,” she said.
That enjoyment largely outweighed the challenge of keeping up with state requirements and paperwork, which are particularly onerous for special education students.
Specifically, Krispin said the best part of her job was “just being with the kids.”
“Watching them learn, you can see when their face lights up that they really did understand what you were trying to get across,” she said.
Krispin said she will miss her students and seeing her colleagues every day now that she has retired due to health reasons.
But she plans to spend more time with other children: her grandchildren in Texas and St. Louis.
Looking back, she said teaching in Waterloo was clearly the right career for her.
“It was the best job I could have picked because I’m a mom first,” Krispin reflected. “I was a mom before I ever got my teaching degree, and it allowed me to be a mom while still teaching and earning an income.”