Reflections on Time Well Spent

Mrs. Anne Lyden is retiring from St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School (SMM) after thirty-one years of teaching, counseling and being a witness of Christ. In 1986, Mrs. Lyden started as a third grade teacher, then worked as a fourth grade teacher, and eventually became the school counselor of SMM for twenty years.

As school counselor, Mrs. Lyden devoted her efforts to make learning effective and efficient as she strived to be an advocate for the students. To carry out her job, she worked with the teachers, the administration, caretakers, parents, and above all the students. She taught students how to develop their skills, how to be assertive, and how to advocate for themselves in order to enhance their learning. While mentoring students on how to recognize their own feelings and the feelings of others, she built empathy and compassion among the student body.

Mrs. Lyden currently handles the logistics of managing standardized tests and works closely with the resource teacher and the gifted teacher in order to address the needs of all students. Considering her job more as a vocation, Mrs. Lyden has enjoyed most of all, the ability to help students learn to solve their own problems and to guide them as they grow academically, socially and emotionally. She loves hearing about the successes and developments of all students in SMM.

Playing the part of Oz in The Wizard of Oz during the teachers’ play for the students on Catholic Schools Week is one of the fun times Mrs. Lyden remembers. She also enjoyed standing on the students’ desks to summon their attention, and even taught that way in elementary school.

Emotional and heartfelt moments happened when everyone would bond together in faith during hard times, especially when a member of the community passed away. The community would go through the journey together and all would receive strength from each other. When Mrs. Lyden was teaching, she had a quote for each new group of students: “Now that you are in my homeroom, you are in my heart no different than my own three children. Once you are in my heart, you always remain in my heart, even after you leave St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School.”

Now that Mrs. Lyden is retiring, she reflected on her experiences with the SMM School Community. She said,  “When I became a teacher, I wanted to teach in a Catholic School so I could openly discuss my faith and beliefs. It was a great joy to have my three children experience Catholic education at this school. I feel so blessed by God to have been able to work, pray, and play with the students, teachers, and parents of this unique parish family.”

Thank you Mrs. Lyden for all your hard work and for having been a true witness of Christ among the many students whose lives you have touched.

Article written by Henri, an 8th grade student at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School, Altamonte Springs.