ANDALUSIA, Illinois – Students at Andalusia Elementary School will never forget their fourth grade teacher. Angie Aten is retiring this year after 31 years on the job. Over the years, she’s become known for one thing: her big, yellow bathtub.
Sitting in the corner of the classroom, the claw foot tub is painted bright yellow. It's full of fluffy pillows. Two friends sit inside, reading to each other from a page about the Oregon Trail. There are two tub rules - no shoes and no talking. Just reading.
Mrs. Aten claimed that tub from her mother's house after a bathroom renovation. She thought it would be a fun way to get her students engaged in reading, giving them a place all their own. But it's time for Mrs. Aten to retire now. She's giving that tub to her daughter, a special education teacher in the Des Moines area.
Mrs. Aten had no idea that on one of the last days of school, there would be a big surprise. As we wrapped up our interview, Principal Mike Ruff walked in the classroom. He was followed by Mrs. Aten's current students, mixed in with the now adult students from her very first class in 1988, all wearing matching t-shirts. At the time, they were the 6th graders at Edgington. They've never forgotten the teacher they knew as Miss Bridge - her maiden name.
Mrs. Aten plans to substitute teach as needed in the Rockridge district. She also plans to do a lot of traveling in her retirement.