Math teacher Randy Bodily set to retire after 44 yearsApr 30, 2022 11:51AM ● By Victoria Wetzel
By Victoria Wetzel | [email protected]
After 44 years teaching at Riverview Jr. High, math teacher Randy Bodily is ready to retire, but his influence will live on.
Seven of his former students are now his fellow coworkers. Brenna Brown, who teaches English at Riverview, says he’s one of the main reasons she decided to become a teacher.
“I feel like I still can't call him by his first name. He’s still ‘Mr. Bodily’ to me,” said Brown, who enjoyed having Bodily as a teacher because he treated his students with respect and trusted them to get their work done independently.
During his years teaching junior high, Bodily has not always made such a dignified impression on his students. Before there was ever carpet in his classroom, there was a hardwood floor, there was an unstable chair, and there was a loud class.
“I said ‘quiet’ and no one was paying attention,” Bodily recalled. “I thought I would get their attention so I got up on the chair and yelled, and the chair slid out from under me and I fell to the ground.”
Looking back, Bodily laughs telling the story. It wasn’t so funny then. “I’d gotten the class to stop talking but then I needed to get them to stop laughing.”
Brown remembers a different thing from Bodily’s time teaching: his My Little Pony collection. It started with a student who gave him a My Little Pony figurine with a math equation written on it. After that, students gifted the math teacher more and more figurines until he had a collection of My Little Pony dolls.
“It was just part of having him as a teacher,” Brown said. “It was just another one of his little quirks.”
While Brown is sad to see Bodily retire, she feels he deserves to close this chapter so he can enjoy something else, to just enjoy being himself.
When asked what he enjoyed about teaching, Bodily didn’t hesitate to say that it was because of the students. He said he enjoyed the interactions with the students and that, as a teacher, he hoped that what he was doing was making an impact on someone.
“I suppose what we teach them is less important than how we teach them,” Bodily said. “They probably don't remember what they learned in the first term six months later, but they do remember a word of encouragement.”
But the main reason Bodily kept coming back year after year to RJHS is because of his previous students, not necessarily his current ones.
As a teacher, Bodily said you have no idea how you impact your students. You could impact many people and not know it. But every now and again he gets an email from a previous student he had years ago, about how they still remember you. Or about how you made such an impact on them and who they are as a person.
“That's what’s kept me coming back, is things like that,” Bodily said.