Bhatti retiring from teaching after 37 years in Pike County

Published 2:00 am Saturday, May 23, 2015

For a teacher, having the opportunity to mold minds is one she does not take lightly.

For Sue Bhatti, a principle Goshen Elementary School teacher, she used her 37 years as a teacher in Pike County to teach, educate and grow students into adults.

And, some of the students she’s watched grow into adults have become her fellow teachers, or like in the case of fellow faculty member Kim Faulkner, Bhatti was able to teach her children.

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“She’s taught all three of my children,” Faulkner said. “Mrs. Bhatti is caring and very loving, and not only does she teach and do a dynamic and wonderful job, she is very motherly. She takes her children in her classroom and teaches them like they were her own. She had my oldest son two times. She had him in kindergarten, and she had him in second grade. They moved her to second grade and she had him. He is now 24 and still loves Mrs. Bhatti.”

Jessica Moran, Bhatti’s across the hall neighbor, said she had quickly become the mother-teacher or teacher-leader for faculty members and that she would often ask Bhatti for advice.

“She’s really involved with helping people,” Bhatti said. “She’s always willing to lend a helping hand. I still go to her. Who is going to fill her shoes? I told her before she left she had to make us all a binder of what we do for everything. She’s our go-to person. It’s always, ‘OK, Sue, what do we do?’ It’s going to be really hard.”

While Bhatti has been teaching for 37 years, she said she started her career teaching four years at Banks Primary School and then came to Goshen and stayed with the Eagles for good.

“Just about everything that has happened in my life has happened while I’ve been here at Goshen,” Bhatti said. “I’ve gotten married. I’ve had two children. They graduated form high school. They graduated from college. The faculty here has all been a part of that and it kind of makes it special.”

With Bhatti playing such a key role for teachers at Goshen Elementary, Faulkner says there is going to be a large hole left where Bhatti once was.

“There will be a hole,” Faulkner said. “She’s the teacher-leader of second grade and she’s always there. She’s rock solid. She doesn’t move. She doesn’t waver in her teaching ethics. If something doesn’t work she’s not too good to stop it, step back and say, ‘OK, I’ve got to teach this child differently.’ She will step in and take care of the special needs babies as well. She’s a very good Christian woman and those values fall over and roll over into the classroom.”

Bhatti said she was sad to finish her teaching career next Tuesday, but what she was going to miss most was watching her students grow from the beginning of the school year to the end and being able to nurture her students.

“I’m going to miss the children,” Bhatti said. “I really will. I’ll miss the children and my coworkers. Just about everything I do is for the children. I make cookies for them. Teachers do as much when we leave school as we do at school for the children. When I go to Walmart there’s always something in the bag for school. I’m going to miss the children.”

But, Bhatti says she is now ready to see what the next phase of life has in store for her, even if it is just gardening in her flowerbeds.

“I think I’m ready for the phase in life,” Bhatti said. “I have a daughter who just graduated from college, so I’m going to move her into an apartment in Birmingham. She’s gotten a job at Brookwood, and that doesn’t start until July. So, that’ll probably get me through July. I think I’m just ready to stay at home, maybe work in the flower beds. They look pitiful right now.”

Bhatti says as long as she’s with her family, she’ll be happy. But, she knows her Goshen Elementary family would always be there for her.