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Theology Teacher Lisa Schmidt Returns to Sub, Discusses Retirement Doings

Theology Teacher Lisa Schmidt Returns to Sub, Discusses Retirement Doings

Mrs. Lisa Schmidt, theology teacher who retired at the end of last year, recently returned to assist Mr. Shane Lagerman’s theology classes while he is out. 

“‘Retirement’ has been absolutely wonderful! I put it in ‘quotes’ because it has turned into semi-retirement,” said Schmidt. 

She has a very part-time job at St. Norbert College as an Adjunct Instructor in the Teacher Education Department, where she serves as a Student Teacher Supervisor.

“I did not see that coming. I was going to let my teaching license expire and be done,” she added. 

Schmidt works with college students who are completing their student teaching. She gets to go in and observe them teaching in their schools, attend their seminar each week and meet them for weekly dialogue. 

“It is a few hours a week, I get to make my own schedule, and it has been fun meeting new people. I also have a lot of free time, which I really love. I am loving the slower pace, not being so scheduled every minute of the day, and new ‘scenery,’” said the longtime NDA teacher. 

St. Norbert is her alma mater, so it is her “dream come true” to be employed there.

“I would have never imagined this is where I would be, but I am proud of myself for trying something new. I was quite rusty (after all these years) with interview questions,” said Schmidt. 

When she is not working, she has been enjoying long morning coffee, daily walks, and hikes, reading a lot of books, listening to audiobooks, cooking healthy meals, playing a little pickle ball, enjoying their sauna, and spending more time with friends and family, dealing with all the decisions involved with building a cabin out of town, and doing lunches with her friends – like Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Corriveau–and snuggles with Coleman, their dog. 

Schmidt and her husband have been busy building their little cabin in the Northwoods, which is near completion.

“We have found a great builder and have loved watching the plan come to life! We are so excited about spending time at our own place,” she said. 

Schmidt hopes they can get in some ice fishing and snowshoeing this winter.

“But for sure, enjoying coffee in front of our fireplace and hikes in the woods. This will be a whole new level of detachment, rest, peace, play and some new friends for us,” she said.

She has a mountain of books and cozy blankets packed. They plan to not have a TV and the WiFi is sporadic, which is what they want. 

The only thing “typical” about Schmidt’s day is waking up when she wants, a nice long cup of coffee with her dog on her lap, a couple of walks and more quality time with her husband. 

“No two days are alike, which I am loving. No schedule. I don’t live by the clock, and sometimes I don’t know what day of the week it is (on purpose). It is so freeing. The slower pace is in agreement with me,” she said. 

It was easy for her to come back to NDA, except for having to wake up at 5:15 again. 

“It is home to me. And family. And everyone was so appreciative. I wasn’t expecting all the hugs. I really was not planning to sub anywhere, the detachment has been healthy and intentional for me, and I do not have my name on any sub-lists,” she said. 

Mr. Lagerman and Ms. Hearden have done so many nice things for her in the last 32 years that it didn’t take her long to make the decision to give a few days to help them through a hard time.

She also knew that she could teach for Mr. Lagerman since he mostly has freshmen, and it might make it easier during his time away. 

Schmidt really missed her Advisory, last year’s freshmen, and her teacher peeps that she knew she would miss. 

Before she retired, it was a daily occurrence for her to take walks in the NDA parking lot, which she has not done since being back. 

“I really, really wanted to. I kind of got caught up in catching up with people and never got out there. Plus, I did not have my usual key card to get back in and I didn’t want to bother anyone. I was hoping maybe someone would grab my hand and say, ‘Let’s go for a walk’ but it didn’t happen,” said the teacher. 

Schmidt started writing a book during COVID, which she has yet to complete. She works on it occasionally, but “it has felt good to put it down for a few months and gain perspective.” 

Her job at St. Norbert has felt “full circle” for her. 

“To be working with soon-to-be teachers has given me more material for the book and plenty of insights. So, I am letting that unfold slowly and can’t wait to add some of the experiences I am having with these young teachers,” added Schmidt. 

The theology teacher has some more stories to add, but the last chapters have been unfolding over the course of this school year. 

“It’s organic,” she described. 

In the next few months, she will finish it, and it will be done. “Timing is everything,” she added.

Schmidt’s mother-in-law gave her and her husband a few ukelele lessons, and they’ve been practicing for a while. 

“I made the mistake of asking a good friend of ours to hear how good I was at ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’ I saw the painful look he had on his face as he listened,” she said. 

She looks forward to more practice and learning this summer and beyond. 

“Many people have a retirement bucket list and get through it within the first six months,” said Schmidt. 

She is saving some things for later when she is not working and has bigger chunks of time to invest. 

“I have not touched my sewing machine yet, but intend to. I want to make some curtains, pillows and fun things for the cabin. So, soon,” she added.

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Lily Arkens
Lily Arkens, Staff Writer
Lily Arkens is in her junior year at NDA. She is in her second year as Football Team Manager, and during the summer in her free time, she loves to golf with her grandpa every Friday. In journalism, she is interested in writing human feature stories and sports-related stories.

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