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Alvanas retires from FPS

After 33 years and more than 700 students, Farragut Primary School kindergarten teacher Nancy Alvanas has decided to hang up her teaching hat.

Never having taught anywhere else, Alvanas has taught a majority of Farragut natives.

“I walked into Farragut Primary School when I was 22 and it has been my life,” Alvanas said.

“I have loved teaching. I have loved being at Farragut Primary. I have been there so long I have taught children of [former] students,” she added.

Alvanas, who moved from Rhode Island with her husband, Steve, in 1976 when he took a job with Tennessee Valley Authority, added she feels fortunate to have worked at FPS her entire career.

“I was very fortunate to be able to get a job at Farragut Primary in 1976. I was really fortunate because I had kindergarten certification and back then not a lot of people had that.

Alvanas taught kindergarten for 32 of her 33 years as a teacher.

“I taught first grade for one year, but then I went back to kindergarten. I liked first grade, but kindergarten has always been my love,” she said.

“I have had a lot of special needs kids in my class. I always wanted to get a special education degree and I never did, so this really gave me the opportunity to be able to work with children with special needs. And I think it is important for them to be in the classroom with other kids, so that has been very rewarding for me,” she added.

When asked about the most rewarding part of teaching, Alvanas said, “Being with the children and seeing them light up when they are learning and the excitement that children have when they learn. Just being able to present things to them in a way that made them excited about learning and about school.”

She said her decision to stay at FPS her entire career was not really a conscious one.

“I really never thought about it. When we first moved here, I didn’t have children and we didn’t live in this area. But then we moved into this area and my kids went to Farragut schools, so I really never thought about it.

“Sometimes I have thought, ‘Gosh, maybe I should have worked in an inner city school or something,’ but I have loved being there, from the old school to the new school,” she added.

Alvanas does not plan to completely give up working with children.

“I would like to volunteer at Children’s Hospital. When I was in college in Boston I worked at Boston Children’s Hospital for a while with their child services. I worked in their playroom and did play therapy and that kind of thing, so I would kind of like to volunteer and do some of that. I might tutor. I might sub, but whatever I do will probably be with children,” she said.

[Retiring] was a really hard decision. I felt like I was able to and I kind of wanted to explore other things I could do with kids while I was young enough to do that,” she added.


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