By Kay Braddock
Saying year-end goodbyes to her classroom of sixth grade students has never been an easy task for longtime Terry Public School teacher Lotty Rambur.
But this year was particularly difficult as Rambur prepared to hang up her full-time teacher’s hat for good.
The 37-year teaching veteran has been known by fellow teachers, faculty and even students to shed a tear or two during the last day of school.
“Every year is a special class,” Rambur said, explaining her emotions for her students.
Rambur came to Terry Public Schools in 1978, after teaching fifth grade for five years at Kessler Elementary School in Helena, Montana. She began as a chapter teacher, providing extra help for elementary and junior high students in math and reading. The following year she taught English and social studies for the seventh grade class. It wasn’t until 1980 that Rambur would settle into her longtime role as Terry’s sixth grade teacher.
In the next 29 years Rambur would develop a reputation as a strong advocate for her students, maintaining a healthy learning environment in her classroom and a strong leadership presence in the Grandey building that housed the middle school grades.
Her diligent learning regimen didn’t happen by accident. School year preparations began by the Fourth of July, Rambur shared.
“It’s all encompassing. It’s your whole life,” Rambur said of teaching, pointing out she was always willing to learn new techniques and on the lookout for new tools to aid students in the learning process.
Probably one of the most rewarding moments during her teaching tenure was watching students “get it” Rambur shared. Sometimes it took additional tries, different avenues and multiple approaches, but watching the light bulb turn on in a student’s mind was worth the extra effort, Rambur shared.
As technology based learning tools expanded in recent years Rambur noted learning how to use the new equipment was a mutual endeavor.
“It was fun learning with them,” she said of her students.
What advice would she offer to new teachers just starting out?
“Say what you mean and mean what you say,” Rambur said. As a teacher who developed “the look” when students met her disapproval, she found that technique to be a useful tool to keep students on target and prevent reoccurring missing homework assignments from continual happening.
She also advises teachers to be organized and prepared.
She and Fred Rambur have two grown sons who are married. Tory and his family live in Las Vegas, Nevada while son Todd and his family live in Billings. Fred and Lotty are the grandparents of four grandchildren. With retirement providing a little more free time, the couple hopes to spend additional time traveling and visiting their family.
“Not everybody is so blessed to like what they do for 37 years,” Rambur said.
As many gathered to share in her milestone moment during a surprise retirement party, hosted by her teaching colleagues, Rambur’s respected reputation was apparent.
Poems were read and memories shared by fellow teachers who worked in the 100-year-old Grandey building with the sixth grade teacher.
It’s obvious, Superintendent Charles Deisher said. His simple assessment may say it best, “She really, really loves kids.”
Published June 16, 2010