Enjoying ‘a ride’ of 30 years, FPS’s Odom retires
Odom is retiring in May, taking advantage of Knox County Schools’ early retirement incentives.
She advises new teachers should “cherish every moment because the time will fly by.”
After helping parents at the school’s Kindergarten Round-up Tuesday, April 9, Odom prepared Wednesday morning for a class spring field trip and reflected on her years at FPS.
“I kind of joke around that I came with the building,” Odom said.
She had just come out of college at University of Ten-nessee, where she majored in elementary education, when she first joined the FPS staff. That was while the school system was building the newest portion of the school in 1989.
“I never had to remember how old it was because it was as many years as I had taught,” Odom said and laughed.
She remembered the move to the “new building.”
“There was no running water,” she recalled. “We had to go into the old building.”
While Odom had hoped to stay at FPS because she admitted to not liking change, what she “didn’t think of is that I would
be in the same grade for 30 years.
“That’s something you don’t see a whole lot of,” Odom added. “Most people you talk to have taught a few years in another grade or maybe another school.
“I spent 16 years on that wing and 14 years in this (wing), so I was almost in the same room the whole time.”
She reflected on “the closeness I felt with my kids and their parents.
“I’ve met some wonderful people,” Odom added. “Just think of 30 years of friendships with your colleagues. These are some of my best friends.”
She remembered a boy who came in one day and “we were dressed alike,” and also recalled funny things children said.
“I would say I have something, and they would say, ‘Oh, my granny has that’ or ‘my granny uses that.’
“Yesterday at Round-up, I saw a mother brought in her two kids, and I had the mother in class,” Odom said. “She was one of my best students.”
One inspiring aspect of her years at FPS was working with principal Gina Byrd.
“Mrs. Byrd is very family oriented, and it’s been amazing to me that whatever happened in our families, it was always families first,” Odom said. “That’s huge to me. You don’t see that every day in the workplace.”
While she is excited about retiring, Odom said she isn’t ready to completely give up teaching, and will substitute at various county schools.
“We are very short on subs,” Odom said. “This is one way I can draw my retirement and be able to keep teaching.”
“I’m not ready to stop teaching,” she added. “This is the best way to do it.”