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Emmetsburg Schools Bid Farewell To Pair Of Retiring Educators

David Hadley says goodbye after 37 years

May 31, 2018
By Darren Fraser , Emmetsburg News

Emmetsburg Middle School social studies teacher David Hadley retires May 31 and after all that time, he espouses the same, simple philosophy for what makes a good teacher: you have to care.

Hadley grew up in Davenport. He graduated from Davenport West High School in 1977. He attended Central College, where he met his wife, Carla. After college, the couple decided they wanted to raise their children in a small community. Hadley accepted a job at Emmetsburg Catholic School.

Hadley worked at Emmetsburg Catholic for 12 years before moving to public schools, where he has taught for the past 25 years. "The first year I taught, I taught Rick Brennan and Dan Jackson; two guys who are still in town," says Hadley.

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Hadley began his career teaching seventh and eighth grade at Emmetsburg Catholic and did teach some high school, but he prefers teaching middle school. "I like where the kids are mentally in terms of development. I think I can make more of a difference at this level in terms of writing and how to understand things," he says.

"If you don't care, you can't be a good teacher; that's my view," says Hadley. He adds kindness, empathy, passion, commitment and hard work to the list of qualities every teacher should possess.

After 37 years, Hadley's best part of the day is still watching the kids arrive. He concedes school is more stressful now for students. He tries to make learning fun; otherwise, kids don't learn. He enjoys watching the kids leave - not because they are leaving but because they are happy going out the door.

Hadley's decision to retire has to do with health issues. He is in remission from cancer but he lacks the stamina he once had. "It's a lot of pain management," he says. "I am just exhausted at the end of the day." He notes cancer has given him a different perspective. "Makes you appreciate things more," he says.

Hadley says he's been too busy to think about his feelings regarding retirement. He admits there will be an adjustment period. He has three grown children and three grandkids. "I'll spend more time with them," he says.

Hadley enjoys gardening and landscaping. He also has designs on writing a children's book. "For a very small audience," he adds. Hadley says there are history books he wants to read. "I want to read without worrying about lesson plans," he says laughing. "And I no longer want to do Iowa Core."

Hadley wants his students to pursue what it is that makes them happy. He wants them to find jobs that make them happy. He wants them to get an education; apprenticeship, four-year education, community college. "I don't really care," he says. "But find some way to continue the education."

Looking back over his career, Hadley says one of the great joys of teaching is recognizing kids who will be going places. "When you can say, 'this person really has a special talent'; that's something," he says.



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