Keating to put her crayons away

First grade teacher Gail Keating between assignments with her students this past week. Keating will retire the end of next week, after 39 years of teaching in the Flandreau Public School District.

After 39 years of teaching our youngest in school their A, B, C’s, how to count to 100, even how to tell time, Flandreau’s Gail Keating this next week will walk out of her first grade classroom one last time.
Keating is preparing to retire at the end of the school year — in part, because she’s ready for it.
“It takes a lot of energy to teach the little ones,” she told the Moody County Enterprise, “and I feel my age a little more in this respect.”
Her teaching certificate also expires this summer, she added. “So this is the time.”
Keating came to the district in 1982. Countless families are grateful that she has stayed ever since.
“I married a local farmer, Stuart, so we can’t move the farm! I’ve enjoyed being here. I’ve been in 6 classrooms counting the old Spafford Elementary building. I’ve taught preschool, kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades, but mostly 1st, she said.
The friendships she’s established with her colleagues have made it easy to stay as well. But the children — they are why she has continued to come back year after year.  
“The greatest reward for a teacher is when that lightbulb comes on, and a child understands something they’ve struggled with. I guess that’s why we teach!”
Keating adds that the notes and pictures she’s received over the years have touched her heart — it’s also been fun to see people in the community whom she’s taught, and then to connect with and teach their children. It’s time though, Keating said, to spend more time with her own children and their families.
“Stuart and I have raised four daughters who have attended the Flandreau Schools. They are all married now, and we are blessed with 13 grandchildren. I plan to see my family much more, as some of them live quite a distance from here.”
The couple also bought an old house, which they plan to renovate and have moved to their farm. They also do a lot of gardening, and Keating personally enjoys baking.  
An Open House to celebrate her career and retirement is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 from 4 to 6 pm in the Flandreau Elementary Commons.

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