Time for Retirement: An Interview with Mr. Templin

by Xinyi Zhou '10 and Ashley Yuen '13


After 10 years in the Magnet, Mr. Templin is headed for retirement. He began teaching 10th grade Research and Design in the Magnet in 2000. After five years, he switched to teaching 9th grade Research and Experimentation (R&E). For freshmen, R&E is an introduction to the spirit of the Magnet program, with projects ranging from trebuchets to measuring the height of the Blair steeple and calculating the amount of calcium in nutritional supplements. Ashley Yuen, class of 2013, interviewed Mr. Templin on one of his final days at Blair.

Ashley: What are you going to miss about Blair?

Templin: “The students!”

Ashley: “Are you being sarcastic?”

Templin: “I’m actually not! The students are the whole fun of this job. No, not the bad ones, but even the bad ones I have fun teasing them, and the good students are so sweet and hardworking [so] it’s encouraging to see them. The kids are actually the fun part of the job. As I told one parent, I’m not going to miss administration, teachers, bells, but I will miss the students for sure.”

Ashley: “Really, you’re not going to miss the teachers? What about Mr. Kaluta and Mr. Donaldson? Are you still planning on seeing them after retirement?”

Templin: “Well yeah, I will still do stuff with Kaluta and Donaldson after. We did some traveling together before. Kaluta has a boat and he’s actually my only friend with a boat, so I’d hate to abandon ship with him!”

Ashley: “You guys go out to lunch a lot. Are you going to miss that?”

Templin: “Depending on my schedule, I can still meet with them for lunch. We were just talking about that today actually over lunch!”

As the interview progressed, Mr. Templin started talking about interacting with his students outside of class, particularly during the traditional 10th grade Wallops island trip and the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology (NCSSSMST) student conference.

Templin: “Most of the years I took students to NCSSSMST. So I took like 8-10 students to different places like New York City and Michigan. A memorable one was New York City with Mr. Heidler and Ms. Steinkraus… we had eight girls and we went to Chinatown and had bubble tea.”

I also love seeing my old students, I was at a bar in Utah one time and there was a former student and he was the bartender. Then we went skiing the next day!”

Ashley: “Oh, remember the time at Wallops where your former student at Eleanor Roosevelt was teaching us?”

Templin: “Yeah! See, that was another memorable experience too. I love seeing my old students and what they’re up to.”

Ashley: “What will you do with all the extra time?”

Templin: “Well I had a lot of trips planned and there’s things around the house. So actually, I don’t know what the future holds for sure. I’d like to build a second house on this two acre plot of land that I own, but I’m not sure if I will get to that.”

I have 3 weeks that I’m going on vacation to these time shares that I have and other trips. I want to go to Greece in the spring.”

Ashley: “What advice do you have for your successor?”

Templin: “Well first, enjoy the energy of the students, don’t fight that, that’s what’s fun. Also part of the philosophy that my predecessor and I share is that we try to believe in discovery that the students have to have some sense of discovery. You don’t want to give them everything. The thing I’ve done is, I don’t grade excessively on the right answer. In math there may only be one right answer, but if everyone got the right answer the data analysis part isn’t that interesting in R&E. There’s always a range (or should I say an [interquartile range]).”

I wish that someone would revise the Chem R&E projects…it’s been the same for eight years. You can keep solubility [as a topic] for example, but change the chemical, the temperatures, so the answer isn’t exactly the same.”

Ashley: “What wisdom would you pass onto future magnets?”

Templin: “If you want an A, do what I say! There’s many people who don’t understand that and are confused by that. Follow directions, have common sense, don’t use a Phillips head screw driver on a flat screw, don’t use a hack saw on wood, don’t hold on to the business end of the tool if your friend is holding onto the trigger [quoting a student]. I really think that this program is beneficial to you and if you put in the work, it will pay off. Well, that’s if you can do the work. If you can’t do the work, get out now. When I went into college, one time there was a teacher, first day of class he said it’s all going to be like this and this and if you don’t like it, transfer; and so I got up and left. I knew it was going to be miserable so I left.”

Ashley: “What are you looking forward to the most about retirement?”

Templin: “I’m looking forward the most to freedom. Also avoiding work that wants to be accepted two months after its due date. There’s more free time for traveling and not having a routine the schedule that is built in with a job like this. There are actually a lot of things I’d like to do that will be better to be done now. Looking forward to being out west in September.”

As the interview finished, Mr. Templin’s current freshmen students gathered around and asked a gamut of questions, from his musical interests to future vacation spots and anecdotes about his son. While we’re sad to see Mr. Templin go, it looks like he’ll be thoroughly enjoying his well-deserved retirement.
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