Art, French, Spanish teacher Katherine Ruddy to leave Morton in ’21

Jose Tovar, reporter

2021 is going to be Kathrine Ruddy’s last year teaching at Morton East High School after many years; during her time working here, she has experienced and witnessed many things happen.  A multi-talented and endorsed instructor, Ms. Ruddy has taught different classes such as French class, Spanish class, and is now currently teaching art.

Past: What is a class memory that tops off all other memories? What has been the scariest experience you have been in or seen during class?

I have so many funny and wonderful memories of my years at Morton. Some of my most fun memories come from our trips that we used to do to Europe. On our very first trip in 2001, the Prince of Monaco drove by in his signature convertible and waved to our students. Our little travel shenanigans were the most fun, like when one of the boys fell asleep on the bus and the girls gave him a makeover with their makeup. From the classroom itself, my favorite memories are from the students acting in their plays in French, and our Mardi Gras parties. Oh, and we cannot forget the parades! Back when I was a younger teacher, we went all out for French Club. We even had two horses march with us ridden by our “King and Queen” and the French Club girls were dressed like princesses and the boys like knights. 2) I was working at my desk and there were three students waiting in line to talk to me, and one of the girls, being excessively polite, was waiting her turn while she fainted, out cold, and fell on the floor! Luckily, the nurse came in quickly and she was not hurt. She learned that there are certain emergencies that do not require such politeness!

Current: What is your thought on the transitioning to remote learning at the beginning? Is Remote Learning now easier than how it was on its first year?

First, when we teachers thought we were just going to get an extra week at home for spring break, many of us were excited. Until… it dragged on and on. Slowly we found ourselves isolated, sometimes scared, and longing for things to return to normal. I was surprised to discover we would still be teaching remotely in the fall of 2020, and even more surprised that it is still going on, more than a year later. I think remote is hardest on the un-motivated student. Most of us teachers are self-motivated and driven to work hard. However, teenagers who are just developing these habits have suffered the most. I look forward to the day when the students are back, enjoying the full high school experience, with sports games, clubs, and dances. 2) We teachers and administrators have tried very hard to make things better and better and improve our remote teaching. While it might be fun and beneficial for SOME students to learn remotely, I see that several students have actually become progressively less involved, and I worry about them. I can only speak for my own experience. For me, I have learned a lot from this experience and have enjoyed certain aspects of remote learning. Except for the few students that have done extremely well with Hybrid learning, I think that for most students, it is time to get back to school!

Future: Are you planning to travel anywhere after retirement? Do you plan to work somewhere else after retirement?

I used to dream of retiring in the south of France, but now that I have six grandchildren, they are my priority! My husband and I may move to Texas, or Florida, or Colorado, but most traveling will be to spend time with family, children, and my beautiful grandbabies. 2) Yes, I plan on working. I have no idea what the future will bring, and I am excited to see where I go next. My thoughts right now are to work in a Catholic school, as that is how I was raised, and I loved it. We will see what God has in store! I have been so lucky to be a part of Morton, and it is hard to imagine any place better than this!


Student reflection:

I had Ms. Ruddy as a teacher for my sophomore year, which was also the first year she was going to teach a Spanish class. Although she did not feel as capable of teaching it compared to French, she still pulled through the year and helped students as much as possible. I luckily had Ms. Ruddy again for my senior year art class. I never knew she had a passion for art, so seeing her drawings and the way she was teaching art class surprised me. I could tell it is a great opportunity for her because the enjoyment she has for it is clear! Ms. Ruddy is the sweetest teacher I have had; she is always making her students feel comfortable in and out of class. It was a pleasure being able to be one of Ms. Ruddy’s students not once but twice! I hope she finds comfort in what she is planning for next after the school year!