|A teacher, through and through
Even retired, Bruce Watson can’t stop teaching.
If not educating people through his substitute teaching efforts, his articles in The Mercury that focus on local issues and people provide information and entertainment he never imagined.
“Amy Dyn used to write a few articles for Mike, and I stepped in when she had a baby,” explained Watson, who taught for 35 years and has been retired for two. When The Mercury underwent a change in command in December, 2009, Watson stepped up to the plate to provide a voice for the community, and has been a prolific contributor ever since.
Bruce Watson, during one of his final visits to The Mercury. (Photo by Janine Giordano)
A teacher through and through, Watson talks about writing a children’s book in his spare time, but if you put aside his diligent support of the community by attending as many events as possible, the time he serves as yearbook advisor, his subbing endeavors, and now vying for a seat on the board of education, there can’t be too many minutes left in his day.
Whatever his past time, in his non-teaching hours you can usually find his wife, Karen, by his side. “Marrying a gym teacher was the most athletic thing I’ve ever done,” he said recently while talking about his life and being married to the RSCS elementary gym teacher. “She’s the best gym teacher I ever met. I’ve never seen anyone as creative with the kids as she is.”
They met after he began teaching at RSCS, with his career beginning at the end of 1972, after she had just graduated that spring.
“We were like two ships passing in the night,” he said. A summer later she ended up as his boss, working for the summer youth program, and what started as friends ended up a happily ever after story.
Their happily ever after story includes two sons, Brian and Mark, who left the nest to attend college. With both boys gone, the Watsons felt that staying involved with the district would be a good way to spend time, and a great way for him to stay connected with children.
Together, he and his wife began serving as advisors to the RSCS yearbook, where he said he learned that “high school kids have the same needs as elementary kids. They need to feel important and they need to know someone is there for them.”
His decision to pay to be fingerprinted so that he could sub through the Herkimer BOCES system was an easy one for Watson. However, after contemplating running for the board of education, Watson felt it was best if he focused his substituting efforts outside of his own district. “I didn’t want it to look like I was on a fact-finding mission to build a campaign platform,” he said.
So now he volunteers with RSCS and yet still has found a way to do what he does best, teach, by working within the ODY school district. In addition, he stays connected to both districts by writing for The Mercury. “I’ve got to see the district from a whole different perspective by writing for the paper. I got to meet so many people by writing soft news. There was a real hunger for sharing information about the scouts, the PTO, booster club. I see how much the kids and adults love to see pictures in the paper,” Watson said.
Writing a children’s book is also on his list of things to do with all of his free time, now that he is retired. The book will be written for “struggling readers, so they can read it and hold it up and say they finished this book.”
The story will be based on his real life experience of how their family dog, Casey, was adopted when their youngest son asked Santa for a dog one Christmas.
“Ellen Beirne (a former teacher at RSCS who is now deceased) put on an assembly with the Herkimer Humane Society,” Watson began.
Casey was the result of that effort, and this is the story Watson would like to tell. “I probably won’t make any money on it. I’d like to donate a portion of the sales to the humane society. I will be dedicating it to my wife, my kids, the kids and staff at school and with special appreciation to Ellen.”