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10-26-02: It's a small world after all
Celina teacher enjoys change from teens to earlier ages

The Daily Standard
    What a difference a year can make.
    Mike Hyland has spent most of his teaching, coaching and administrative career handling teens with raging hormones and everything else that comes along when you surround yourself with high schoolers.
     This year, things are different. Runny noses and toothless grins greet Hyland each day at Immaculate Conception  (IC) School in Celina, where he became the new elementary physical education teacher in August.
    "I can't say enough good things about him," said school Principal Kathy Mescher. "Most of the kids think he's pretty cool because they know he used to be a high school teacher."
    The kids also are impressed by Hyland's gender, Mescher said laughing. The last male to hold a teaching or administrative position at the school was more than 11 years ago, she said.
    "The kids were beginning to think all teachers are women," Mescher said.
    Hyland, 57, retired from Celina City Schools on December 31, 2001, after spending much of his career there as a teacher, athletic director and truant officer. He majored in physical education and health in college but hadnšt taught elementary-aged students since 1967 when he took a job at a school in Lancaster.
    "Elementary phys ed has changed a lot since '69," Hyland said with a grin. The different tools used today to teach younger kids coordination are new to Hyland, he said. He's relied on advice from other elementary teachers to help guide him with his new, much smaller students.
    "Young kids are much more advanced today, more active. And they don't talk back like the older kids," he said.
    At IC, there are no locker rooms and less equipment and space than Hyland was used to at other public schools, but he is adjusting, he said.
    "I found out there was a vacant, grassy lot nearby that Celina Insurance (Group) offered to let us use," he said excitedly. "It's only a three-minute walk from school, and it sure saves a lot of scraped knees from the pavement."
    During a recent afternoon class, Hyland strolled down to the makeshift
soccer field, ducking frequently, as a group of third-graders scurried back and forth around him.
    "I feel like their grandfather sometimes," he said. "Their parents, many of my former students, still say 'Hi coach' when they see me."
    Hyland said he took the part-time job at IC at the urging of his wife, Diane. Following his retirement, the pair wrestled for the television remote when Diane arrived home from work on her lunch break. "All My Children" won out over "ESPN" when Hyland applied for the teaching position, he said with a laugh.
    Hyland said he worked with a lot of neat kids and staff members during his 28 years at Celina High School and expects his time at IC to be equally wonderful. The kids at IC already think he's pretty wonderful.
    "He likes to play sports and so do I," said third-grader Scott Moeder.
    Anna Stammen said she really likes physical education class because Hyland is a funny guy. Like Moeder, Caroline Hinders takes her sports seriously. After catching her breath on the field, she shared her impression of the new teacher.
    "He's got a lot of experience and he knows the rules," said the freckle-faced girl.
    The eagerness shown by the younger students is what amazes Hyland and keeps him on his toes, he said. No matter what he tells them to do, they're ready to go.
    "I could say we're going to play 'sump pump,' or any made-up or imaginary game I can think of, and they'd be jumping up and down with their hands waving," he said. "They're just great."


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2002
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822