As she prepares to retire, Stevenson Elementary literacy specialist Patty Weiland said she already knows what she will miss most about teaching.

As she prepares to retire, Stevenson Elementary literacy specialist Patty Weiland said she already knows what she will miss most about teaching.

"I'm going to miss all the little things that happen with kids," she said. "I'm going to miss those wonderful moments when suddenly they understand something and they are so pleased.

"I'll miss the students' smiles and all the things they share with you," Weiland said.

At the close of this school year, Weiland will retire after spending the past 32 years at Stevenson.

"It was a really hard decision to retire," she said. "I know I'm going to miss coming here each day. I really feel blessed to have been able to be part of the Stevenson community all these years."

In her three decades at Stevenson, Weiland has served in a variety of positions, including teaching first, second and third grades; first- through sixth-grade reading and fourth- through sixth-grade math.

As literacy specialist, Weiland has worked with students who need a little help and support to boost their reading skills. She also works closely with other teachers to identify students who need that extra help.

In her most recent role, she has been able to work with students individually or in small groups.

"You really get to know how they think," Weiland said. "Then I can figure out what skills they need to strengthen and what they understand and don't understand."

Often, young readers need a shot of confidence as they struggle to master reading skills, she said.

"I get so much pleasure and joy out of helping kids understand that they are smart and they are capable," Weiland said.

She always wanted to be a teacher, she said.

"I had a great school experience myself as a child, and I think that helped make me want to go into teaching." Weiland said. "And I had a good family in terms of instilling a good work ethic and an appreciation for learning in me."

As a teacher, she has always tried to encourage students to develop a life-long love for learning, she said.

"I really do think we make a difference the lives of our students," Weiland said. "I'll talk to former students and they'll tell me what they remember they learned from me. That always means so much to me."

After retirement, Weiland said she plans to spend more time working on her hobby of designing and creating jewelry and exhibiting her work at craft fairs.

"I plan to help my family catch up with some things around the house, do some gardening and some traveling," she said. "My youngest son is going away to college and now that I won't be teaching, it'll be easier to visit him."

But Weiland said she also plans to stop by and visit Stevenson on a regular basis, and might even do some substitute teaching.

"I'm going to miss the other teachers and the Stevenson staff and administrators so much," she said. "At Stevenson, we have a lot of fun while working very hard."

Weiland said she is also grateful for having "such a supportive group of parents over the years. They really make my job easier."

The affection her colleagues feel for her is demonstrated by "The 12 Days of Mrs. Weiland," countdown being held during each morning's announcements.

Each day as her retirement draws near, Stevenson staff members are presenting Weiland with a gift.

Early on, the gifts included 12 long-stemmed roses, a manicure and pedicure for her (10) fingers and toes, nine innings of baseball (four tickets to a Columbus Clippers game) and a Magic 8 Ball toy.

"It's been so nice of everybody to do this," Weiland said. "It's brought me to tears. Stevenson is such a special school. I've been so fortunate to be able to teach here."