RUMFORD — Dorothy Peters believes that becoming a teacher was destined.

When she was 5 years old, she would line up her dolls as if they were in a class, then she’d teach.

Now, 60 years later, she will retire from the position she has loved for the past 27 years — an English language arts teacher at Mountain Valley High School — from the same room where she has taught for 25 years.

“Becoming a teacher felt very natural,” Peters said. “I’ve enjoyed making connections with students.”

Before returning to college to become a teacher, she stayed home with her three children. Once they were more or less on their way, she re-entered the classroom. She then graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington and began her career at the former Mexico High School for two years before moving into Room 112 in 1989.

When she leaves her position in June, she said she’ll feel like she’s leaving a very big family.

“I’ve always felt supported,” she said.

Among her major duties, in addition to teaching literature and other language arts, has been her involvement with the National Honor Society. She has been advisor for the MVHS chapter for more than 20 years, as well as on the state advisory council of the NHS and the National Council in Reston, Va. She plans to continue working with the society for at least another year.

“The NHS encourages students to find themselves, pushes themselves further, and is very rewarding for them,” she said.

Peters, 65, is a voracious reader with a love for Victorian novels. Her favorite is “Hard Times” by Charles Dickens. But her overall favorite book is one written by Maine author Stephen King and Peter Straub, “The Talisman,” which presents adventures that challenge the main character to test himself.

She is also a lifelong learner. She is currently only one-and-a-half courses away from completing a master’s degree in literacy.

She and her husband, Michael, plan to divide their time between their homes in Dixfield and Orlando, Fla. Outside her windows in Florida she can see fireworks displays from Cinderella’s castle in Disney World. She has taken students on several class trips to that area.

Peters, known as Dotty, hopes to become involved in Disney World’s youth educational program as well as possibly volunteering in nearby high schools.

She has greatly enjoyed the students over the years, including children of children she once taught. She has also seen a variety of teaching philosophies come and go.

“We need to keep incorporating the new, but also respect that some of the old methods are worthwhile,” she said.

She and her husband are the parents of three adult children and grandparents to one boy and one girl.


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