I got a call from my friend and former colleague, Joe Doupé, on Monday, asking me if I’d come in and teach his fourth and fifth graders “The County Song.”

I had to laugh. For 30 years, every single one of my students memorized the 39 counties of Washington State by singing the names (in alphabetical order) to the tune of a familiar Irish Jig. I made the song up, so to speak.

Joe wanted to play his guitar along with my singing for demonstration. After a moment’s hesitation I agreed to my first 30 minutes inside a classroom since I retired in June, 2006.

The kids were—wiggly, talkative, energetic, inquisitive, rambunctious, enthusiastic—choose your own adjective. Some raised hands, some blurted out, and some raised hands and then blurted out before being called on.

I was right at home.

I thoroughly my time with Joe’s class, telling stories about different counties, assisting individuals, pairing them up with one partner who was confident about the song, and another needing a little more encouragement. Without a doubt, you can take the teacher out of the classroom for 5 1/2 years, but she’ll never stop being a teacher.

What a relief!