Beloved Teachers Saying Goodbye
PADEN CITY – Equations being balanced and experiments concluded, Paden City High School science teacher Sheldon Ruckman hypothesized that is was time to retire. Friday was his last day teaching or so it would seem.
“I think that I will miss the transfer of science knowledge with my students,” Ruckman said. “I will miss learning from them. But I am now a Pappy with two little granddaughters, Carolyn Ruckman, who is 2-years-old and Evey Belle Haddad, who is 8-months, and a third granddaughter on the way for July Gibson Shelby Haddad who are going to be looking up to me to teach them important things. So teachers never really retire, they just become grandparents.”
When Ruckman began teaching science more than 31 years ago at Moundsville Christian School in 1984, he recalls his salary was about $10,000 a year before taxes. Starting in 1989, Ruckman worked as a traveling teacher between Magnolia High School and PCHS. For more than 25 years, Ruckman taught students at both schools/ About a year and a half ago, Ruckman began teaching full-time at PCHS a time he describes as the “best of my teaching career”.
PCHS Jay Salva had high praise for Ruckman and said he was credit to the school’s faculty and taught to the very end even giving a his last test.
“He is one of the best science teachers I’ve ever been around,” Salva said.
PCHS Senior Luke Cooper called Ruckman a GOAT Great Of All Time and complimented his teaching style.
“Mr. Ruckman has taught me a lot in chemistry,” he said. “He is one of my favorite teachers because it was always a fun class. I know more about chemistry than I ever did, which will help me in the future. Mr. Ruckman is the chemistry GOAT!”
Cora Anderson, an eighth grade student at Paden City Middle School, said because of Ruckman’s influence, she may pursue a career in science someday.
“He’s a good teacher,” she said. “He’s funny. He tells jokes. I’m more educated. Maybe I’ll be a veterinarian someday.”
Ruckman said among the highlights of his career was when PCHS students brought home the trophy from a science, math and engineering competition last year at Fairmont State University. Ruckman said the low point was dealing with school system politics, particularly the time when Wetzel County Board of Education was making decisions about the fate of Paden City schools.
But among the highlights in Wetzel County was being able to teach alongside his wife and children.
“What I liked most about teaching is the time I was afforded to spend with my own children, Ryann MHS ’04 and Morgann MHS ’06 and my wife, Paula J. Ruckman, who also taught for Wetzel County at the same time,” he said.
If anything, Ruckman said his three decade tenure in the schools has taught him one thing.
“Change is a part of life and education is no exception!” he said. “The only difference is that change in education is circular. It goes around and around! The longer you teach the more change comes around!
Ruckman said he chose Friday, Jan. 29 his 60th birthday to double as his retirement day due to his 31 years teaching also the first day he became eligible to collect his hard earned pension. Ruckman said though he loved teaching, he is ready to take the next step in life retirement.
“Now that I am retired, I am going to do whatever, wherever, whenever, with whomever and however I choose!”