Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Hill Retires

Luther College English professor Gerald Hill announced his retirement earlier today. "The sun wasn't up yet when I dropped off the letter to the Dean," Hill said, on the steps of Tangerine, one of his latte haunts.
Hill's teaching career began in 1975, as a grade 7 Language Arts teacher in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. "It was a great school," he said, over his latte at Tangerine. "I could have stayed there and retired 10 years ago."
But he stayed only two, then part of a third, thinking that with his Permanent Professional certificate he'd get a job down in Calgary, where he'd taken his B.Ed. What he did get was the notion to teach in Papua New Guinea, as a CUSO volunteer, from 1978-1980. "I could have stayed there too," he says, "and taken a contract job for big money and retired 15 years ago."
When his writing career kicked in, Hill taught around it: as a sub in Nelson (1981-82) while he studied writing at DTUC, as a maternity leave replacement at an alternative school in Regina (1982-83) once he'd set up his first writing home, as an Adult Ed drop-in Literacy instructor in Saskatoon (1983-84) after he'd met his future wife, the Saskatoon-based theatre artist Ruth Smillie, at a writing retreat in Fort San, and as an Adult Education teacher in Edmonton (1984-8). "That's enough for one sentence!" Hill says, wiping the latte foam from his lips.
As a matter of fact, teaching did feel as if it were a sentence by that time. "I wanted to more closely align my teaching and writing interests," is how he put it this morning, breaking off a piece of peach-pair scone. That meant post-secondary; that meant grad degree.
By 1993, with a new Master's and an all-but-dissertation PhD in English from UAlberta, Hill had been teaching first-year English for a couple of years. "The plan was, I'd finish the PhD and get a job somewhere and move the family there." That plan ended with the marriage. Hill taught for a year or two at Red Deer College and then, in 1995, "When my ex got a job at the Arts Board in Regina, I got one too, at Luther as a Sessional Instructor, so we could continue to co-parent our young family." 
In 2001 he won his tenure-track job, the one from which he's just retired.
"Man, good latte," Hill said, as the darkness lifted this morning.

6 comments:

Shelley Anna said...

Wow! So happy for you, Gerry. The world awaits you.

xo Shelley

Gerald Hill said...

Thanks, Shelley. I should add that this retirement takes effect June 30.

Lacey J.J. Steal said...

It seems congratulations are in order to you, as well! I hope the end to this semester goes very well for you. More trips to Spain in the future?

Gerald Hill said...

Let's say YES! But you're the one with the big adventure ahead. All the best to you. Keep writing.

Nathan Frank said...

Congratulations, Gerald! I'm very grateful that someone I barely knew recommended I take a class from you. I look forward to reading about your post-retirement life.

Gerald Hill said...

Thanks, Nathan. And same to you.