Ms. Cotnoir will be retiring from Briarcliff High School this coming June. The announcement was made a few of weeks ago. She has been a teacher for 37 years and has worked at Briarcliff for 18 of those years. At Briarcliff, she has taught AP World History, 9th and 10th grade Global History, AP Human Geography, UHS Psychology and Reel History.
Cotnoir says she got the teaching bug when she was a little kid playing pretend teacher. She had the chalkboard, the school desk, the whole shebang. For a person who loves telling stories, history was the perfect fit.
Ms. Cotnoir is really looking forward to having a free schedule and being able to garden more. Additionally, she wants to become in more organizations, such as Green Ossining.
While Ms. Cotnoir says she is looking forward to life in retirement, she says she will miss the daily interaction with the students and the grati cation of seeing someone have that lightbulb moment. That being said, she said she has plans in mind with her free time. “I want to sleep until at least 8 in the morning every day and not wake up to an alarm clock,” she said. “I also want to be able to stay up late and watch television like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
One of the things Cotnoir said she loved about being a teacher was when her students took it upon themselves to delve deeper into a topic, research it, and then come back to challenge her. She said it caused her to learn new things and sometimes research it herself. She said she truly believes that if students enjoy the topic that they are studying, they will care and absorb more. This belief is what led to the the implementation of the quarterly essay assignment. Each quarter students get to choose and research a topic, and then write a paper relating the topic to a prompt.
Ms. Cotnoir recommends to future teachers that they find a subject and age group they love. “For the next few decades of your life, you will be working non-stop,” she said. “If you love what you do, then you will never work a day in your life.”