BOWIE (KFDX/KJTL) — After nearly 30 years, a Bowie teacher who meant so much to so many is calling it a career.
It was the 1990-1991 school year, Dana Polk was fresh out of college and ready to start her career as a teacher.
“My first year was at Bowie Junior High and I had all-girls PE,” Dana said. “So, I had only 6th-grade girls all day and then I coached 7th and 8th-grade athletics. So, I think we had track and basketball at that time.”
Fast forward 30 years later and other than a year at Bellevue ISD and a year and a half break when her daughter was born, Dana has been a staple within these walls at Bowie ISD. She decided this year would be her last.
“Honestly it’s a transition time in my life,” Dana said. “I’m ready for something different. Some days it’s hard for me to get up here and it shouldn’t be that way, I shouldn’t struggle to get up and get up here so I don’t want to leave on a negative note.”
During her time as a teacher, she inspired many, including her daughter, Chloe who is following in her mom’s footsteps as an elementary school teacher at Centennial Elementary School in Lubbock.
“The biggest inspiration to me is just her kindness,” Chloe said. “No matter the situation, she’s always the one to say be kind and you’ll receive kindness so I’ve taken that into my classroom as well to just show my kids that kindness. It helps build those relationships and that’s something she always had with her students too.”
One of Dana’s former students Brent Shaw said future generations are going to miss out on having her as a teacher but he thinks her impact is everlasting.
“It’s hard to come in and replace someone with that caliber but there’s definitely going to be a little bit of a gap but I think she above and beyond to ensure her fellow teachers and her younger teachers glean something from her,” Shaw said.
It’s not just the students and her co-workers who will miss seeing her, that feeling is mutual.
“My co-workers, I’ll miss seeing them every day but the relationships with the kids, I missed that when I stopped coaching Chloe’s senior year,” Dana said. “You really have close relationships with those kids. You spend so many hours with them in the gym but you’re able to develop that in the classroom as well.”
As for what’s next, Dana said she will continue to work her side business but also is looking forward to spending more time with her daughter in Lubbock and her son who lives in Utah.
Also, Dana said she and her cousins played pretend school as children. As for who was the teacher, well you guessed it, Dana said she was always the teacher and never let them be the teacher.