Father's Love of Teaching Brings His Children to Profession, Too

Article excerpt

When Phil Pardun of Hoffman Estates left his math classroom at the end of the school year, he closed the door on a 33-year teaching career, the past 29 of which have been at Rolling Meadows High School.

Little did he know when he entered the teaching profession that he would be creating a family legacy.

Newly married, he originally planned to become a systems analyst, but immediate needs and practical matters led him to teaching after graduation from college. He intended to teach long enough to help pay off his college loans and earn his master's degree.

"As time went on I began to rethink my plans," Pardun said. "I reasoned that as long as I continued to enjoy teaching and was able to come home at night and still enjoy my own kids, I'd keep teaching."

Apparently he not only enjoyed what he did, but also instilled in his children a deep appreciation for the profession. Today, three of his four children and a daughter-in-law are teachers.

Pardun's fourth child works with special needs children and is entering a graduate school program in special education this summer. Pardun's wife also enjoys a satisfying career in education. She has been an integral member of Conant High School's office staff since returning to work 10 years ago.

Pardun's two oldest children, Julie and Jim followed identical educational paths to teaching. The Fremd High School graduates first attended Harper College, then transferred to Northern Illinois University, where both graduated on the same day.

Younger siblings Jeannine and Joe also graduated from Fremd. Jeannine attended Harper College and then transferred to Eastern Illinois University, where she earned a degree in psychology.

Joe, the youngest of the Pardun children, recently graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a degree in education.

Today, Julie teaches biology at Maine East High School in Park Ridge. She also serves as adviser to the school's National Honor Society and the Demon Guard Volunteer Swim Instruction Program.

"As I was going through high school, I never dreamed I would become a teacher," she said. "Then in college I took a few education courses and absolutely loved it. My decision to teach pretty much came out of nowhere and sure surprised my dad when I told him." Julie, who is also a parent, added, "I couldn't imagine having a more perfect job now."

Jim began his career six years ago as a math teacher at Wheeling High School, where he also coached the school's math and swim teams. Last year he taught at Libertyville High school and will move on to Vernon Hills High School when it opens this fall. In addition to teaching math, he will serve as the school's aquatic director and coach the girls swim and water polo teams.

Like his father, math came easily to Jim. He says deep down inside he always knew he was going to go into teaching, but, as a typically independent-thinking teen, he didn't like to hear people suggest he "follow in his father's footsteps." Today, he's glad he did.

In truth, Jim said, his dad had a huge influence on him but he didn't realize it until he became a teacher himself.

"Growing up, I'd go to work with Dad on Take your Child to Work Days, and I'd attend a lot of his swim meets," Jim said. "I'd see how much fun he was having. Even after a long day, Dad would come home all pumped up, ready to spend time with us. …