Retiring after 33 years at middle school
Sixteen years ago, Middle School math and science teacher Dan Hauge partnered his son with a girl for their math competition, Math Masters.
“They started going out as sophomores and after a year I told my wife that they would get married,” said Hauge. Hauge ended up being correct as his oldest son, David, who graduated from Minnehaha in 2006, and Gabrielle Courteau now enjoy their marriage.
“[My wife] didn’t believe it,” he said, “but guys just kind of know these things.”
Some of Hauge’s favorite memories were from when he had his sons in his class. He said that seeing his class from a parent perspective helped him become a better teacher and see the class from a “different light.”
“My youngest son, (Michael who graduated from Minnehaha in 2011), was not a real studier and when I had him in class he was kind of a talker,” said Hauge, “so I put him next to a quiet girl student that would hopefully keep him on task. The first test he got from science, he got a D on it. The little girl looked at him and shook her head and said, ‘How can the teacher’s kid get a D?’ Of course she got an A. His quick response to her was, ‘I just wanted to prove that he’s not favoring me.’ Of course, he proved that more than once.”
Hauge’s family seems to find a common interest in teaching. His wife, Laurie, was originally a graphic studio designer, but after seeing how much her husband enjoyed teaching, she decided to become one, as well.
She now teaches third grade at Edinbrook Elementary. David is a math teacher and Michael is training to become one as well. The two sons continue to follow in their father’s footsteps as they enjoy coaching wrestling.
Hauge coached Minnehaha’s varsity wrestling team for 15 years after his friend, a gym teacher for the school, suggested the open position.
“I really enjoyed that year doing it,” said Hauge. “I kind of thought to myself, when I was in college I worked as a community school coordinator, I liked that, too. So it dawned on me that maybe I would like to be a teacher.”
Little did he know that he would be retiring from being Minnehaha’s sixth grade math and science teacher 33 years later.
“I wanted to retire while I’m still young enough and healthy enough to enjoy retirement.” Hauge also stated that his open-heart surgery this past November helped him to decide to retire this year versus next year. “The surgery went great,” he said, “but it made me realize that maybe it was the time to do it.”
Hauge said he will be responsible for the housework such as cooking and cleaning as his wife still has one more year of teaching before her retirement.
After her retirement, they plan to spend time someplace warmer during the winter months.
“I do not like cold weather,” Hauge clearly stated. “The older I get, the more I don’t like it.” He also plans to spend more time at his cabin on the Gunflint trail as well as enjoying his hobbies, fishing and golfing.
Hauge expressed how much he will miss his friends and colleagues.
“A few of the teachers are still here since 33 years ago. Steve Engdahl was a new sixth-grade teacher when I started teaching too, so we’ve kind of grown up together and we changed a lot.”
“Dan is one of the most dependable, reliable, consistent people I know,” said Middle School counselor Steve Engdahl. “He was my ‘start-mate’ here, and I am going to feel a bit ‘unanchored’, having my mate leave the ship while I continue to sail along.”
Hauge explains how he will especially miss his relationship with the students. He said he enjoys teaching sixth grade because it’s their first year of middle school and everything is new and exciting for them.
Hauge enjoys seeing how much they change from the first day of school to the last.
“Sometimes people ask me if kids are different now than they were 30 years ago,” said Hauge. “No, I think they’re just as hard working, polite, and wonderful people to work with. I just feel that there’s a point where it’s time to move on.”