From The Ridge - The McCallie Blog

A lifetime of education

Posted by Jim Tanner on April 15, 2016

Middle School Head Lynn Goss reflects on his career in education. This piece can be seen in the Fall/Winter 2015 issue of McCallie Magazine.

Where has the time gone?

Isn’t this the question we continue to ask ourselves as we grow older?

As our children begin their journey to adulthood, we continue to be amazed how quickly the time passes. One day they are starting school; the next they are graduating.

Retirement? Isn’t that something that we often talk about, but we think that it will never arrive?

We won’t ever be that old, will we? Last year, I heard a quote that rang true for me at this point in my life/career. “The days are long, but the years are short.” This statement from author Gretchen Rubin sums up how I feel at this point in my life.


As I begin my 45th year of teaching, 30 at McCallie, I cannot help but look back and consider my journey. I chose to become a teacher/coach because I had many wonderful teachers and coaches at East Ridge who invested a part of themselves in me. They inspired me and made me believe that being five feet tall didn’t really matter. My eighth grade English teacher referred to me as “Herkie” because she said I was strong like Hercules — I weighed 78 pounds. Ms. Tucker is in her 90s, and she still calls me Herkie when I see her. Ms. Tucker and other teachers and coaches inspired me to want to make a difference in the lives of students.

When I became a member of the McCallie community in 1986, I was once again fortunate to have mentors who encouraged and believed in me. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Spencer McCallie III for initially offering me a teaching position and eventually asking me to be Head of the Middle School. I never saw myself as an administrator, but he had faith that I would do a good job — the jury is still out on the wisdom of his decision.

One of Spencer’s favorite scripture verses is from Deuteronomy 6. Moses tells the Israelites that they will soon be drinking from wells they have not dug.  This is certainly true for me and for all of those who currently call McCallie their home. We are the beneficiaries of all of those who have gone before us inspiring boys and building men. If they had not done so, the school would not have survived.

For the past 19 years, it has been an honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to work in the Middle School alongside an incredible group of educators who truly care about boys, and who strive to make a difference in the boys’ lives. In the process of inspiring boys, these men and women have all taught me lessons in patience, forgiveness, encouragement and love. I will forever be grateful to all of them for keeping me grounded.

Lastly, I can’t help but consider the numerous students and families that I have had the pleasure of working with throughout the years. It hasn’t always been easy, but I trust we have all grown and learned as we worked together to become better people. We are all a work in progress.

So, while the days have been long, the years have truly been short. I believe that God has a plan for us all, and I am looking forward to the new chapter. Thanks to all for your support and encouragement.

Topics: Campus Life, character, duty, administration, First Person, leadership, learning, middle school, retirement, Posts from the Ridge, O Captain! My Captain!, teachers, teaching

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