Math Teacher Mary Corbett is retiring!


Fatima Duran

Mary Corbett is a soon-to-be retired teacher here at Morton East High School. She served the school for around 34 years. She teaches honors math to sophomores.  Her happiest experiences while working at Morton involve the returning students who come back to say hello and tell you how much they enjoyed your class.  “Sometimes students even apologize for their behavior and other times I think – wow, I thought this kid disliked me,” Ms. Corbett says.


Q: What was one of the saddest experiences while working here at Morton?  

A:  Back in 2001 each classroom was equipped with a Television.  Watching 9/11 unfold live on television with students was one of the saddest memories I have here. If I had known then what we would have witnessed live, I would have turned the Television off.


Q: What are you doing after retirement?

A: Once I retire, I plan on exercising, going on road trips (I don’t fly anymore), and reading.


Q: What was one of your favorite memories?

A: We used to have desks where the seats were attached and I always giggle when I think about the time a student, who sat in the front row, was so excited to defend his answer to the class that when he darted up to go to the board, the desk was still attached to him. 


Q: What would you miss the most?

A: I will miss interacting with teens-you kids are fun to be around, are full of surprises, and always crack me up!


Q: Five words you want to leave the students with

A: Only five? OK, I guess I would say- take pride in your work.


Q: Why did you decide to become a teacher?

A: In High School, I tutored classmates in math and really enjoyed witnessing someone who was previously struggling to become successful.  It’s fun watching that frown turn upside down.


Q: Where did you get your degrees?

A: I am a NIU Huskie for undergrad and a DePaul Blue Demon for graduate school.


Q: How was the interaction between you and the student’s parents?

A: When I was young and first starting out, I felt like I had to prove my competence to parents but over time you begin to earn their trust and a good reputation.  It is always special when you have siblings over the years and have the opportunity to build relationships and at times, friendships, with the parents.


Q: What was the smartest thing you did to prepare yourself for retirement?

A: It was not necessarily anything I prepared for, but rather something, that happened to me.  In this, my last year, I was assigned a student teacher who was a former student of mine.  I cannot explain the satisfaction of passing the torch to someone fresh and eager to take on this rewarding career.  What a great way to close out my career.


Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: It’s a toss-up between Fried Green Tomatoes and Dave.


Q: How about your favorite book?

A: My favorite book is Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak.  It’s a children’s book, but I have such fond memories of reading it to my son.  All of the different voices and inflections you can use are so much fun. My son requested I read it to his class at “Mystery Reader” time, which I did, and it was a hit.