About Utah: He's leaving them wanting more; Paul Watson leaving remarkable teaching career

Published: Sunday, June 1 2014 10:30 p.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, June 2 2014 8:09 a.m. MDT

“I honestly haven’t thought about discipline in 25 years,” he says, “and for the first five years it kept me awake all night.”

He came to realize the benefits of being direct and honest with kids.

“I learned how to treat them and confront them,” he says. “If someone’s out of place, I’ll immediately remind them that they’re holding us all up with their behavior. That’s about all. At first I thought, they’re going to hate you. It took five years to realize they’re going to hate you when you stop believing in them, when you stop expecting higher behavior.

“When you have a good relationship with kids, it’s amazing what you don’t have to put up with.”

“He has made it his great gift to see what students need to know so they can do it on their own,” says Goodsen of the district office. “He is one of our great teacher leaders.”

Paul’s plan is to join his brother Mark, who owns a commercial construction company. He will be his job estimator and bidder.

“I’m leaving what I know really well and entering into something else with a 55-year-old brain,” he says.

Still, after 30 years, he admits to looking forward to a bit of a break.

“It’s incredibly hard work,” he says. “There’s a lot of stress if you’re trying to do what’s good and right and healthy for kids. Emotionally, they need a lot.

“But I loved it,” he says, “loved every day of it.”

So, obviously, did everyone else.

Lee Benson's About Utah column runs Mondays. Email: benson@deseretnews.com

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