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The student news site of C. M. Russell High School

Rustler News

The student news site of C. M. Russell High School

Rustler News

Coogan thrives in role of substitute teacher

At age 51, one Great Falls Public Schools District employee starting pursuing a career she had been interested in for some time: substitute teaching. She has stayed loyal to the district for more than 11 years.

“This district is a very good district to work for,” Ellen Coogan said. “They are very glad you’re a sub, they love the subs, they treat us very well.”

She started her career as a sub after a cancer scare at the age of 51, she said. Her love of being a mother and being around kids is what propelled her towards the job, she added.

“I didn’t go to college, but I loved being a mom a lot, still do love it, and enjoy being around children,” Coogan said.

She said her favorite subjects to sub for are business classes and family/consumer sciences. In fact, she was accepted into college for business, but she did not attend, she said. Her least favorite subjects to teach are the higher up science and math classes because they require knowledge of the subject to teach, she said.

“Algebra two and trig, that’s a whole other language,” Coogan said.

Even though she enjoys teaching those classes, she said she prefers teaching the little kids— kindergarteners and first graders— because the classes are easy to teach and the children are nice.

“You get to teach more in elementary school because you don’t have to know the subjects and “the little kids are a hoot.”

She said she has made good memories in the elementary schools, and that’s part of the reason why she loves the job, she said.

“During one long-term sub job I had, it was Halloween. That was a fun one,” Coogan said. “I was still there for the last day before winter vacation. It’s fun to see them get excited for Christmas and watch them practice for their concerts.”

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