If Charles Potashnik could do it all again, he would still teach, according to the Howland Social Studies teacher who is retiring this year after more than 45 years in the profession.
''I never wanted to get in administration,'' Potashnik said. ''The classroom is where it all happens.''
With much of his career spent with the Howland School District, Potashnik has led a full and interesting life teaching government, economics and even psychology to the multitudes of students who have crossed his classroom doorways. He is currently teaching advanced placement classes in World History, has been in charge of the high school's prom for the past eight years and has started writing a book on investing.
Howland Community News / Kathleen Evanoff
Howland teacher Charles Potashnik is retiring this year after more than 45 years with the Howland School District. He also has coached several sports, was head baseball coach for 14 years and in 2007 was inducted into the Trumbull County Sports Hall of Fame.
In the early 1970s, Potashnik developed an interest in hypnosis after watching a stage hypnotist perform at a Howland prom.
''After I saw him perform, I asked, 'What can you do with students having learning disabilities?''' he said.
After reading several books on the subject of hypnosis, Potashnik took hypnosis classes at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. Since then he has worked with several students and adults over the years helping them pass exams, deal with chemotherapy, headaches, blood pressure issues and anxiety. Potashnik also has worked with people hoping to lose weight and quit smoking. He has made personal recordings for people who find themselves slipping.
''There is always something to be learned,'' he said. ''I hope to have more time for those kinds of things.''
In addition to teaching, Potashnik coached several sports including football, basketball and varsity track. He was head varsity baseball coach for 14 years and is proud that some of his students and athletes still remember him and invite him to their weddings.
He still holds the Trumbull County batting average record of .628 from his own years as a high school baseball player at Warren G. Harding High School in Warren, where he graduated in 1960. That same year, he was named an all-Ohio high school pitcher. He attended Ohio University from 1960 to 1961 and received his bachelor's degree in social studies in 1965 and his master's degree in 1966 from Kent State University. In 1995, he was inducted in the Warren Sports Hall of Fame and in 2007 in the Trumbull County Sports Hall of Fame. He has been nominated for teacher of the year six times.
Yet his heart is still with the students he has taught over the years, describing that his defining moment in teaching has to do with students who have assumed excellent positions in society by becoming people who have gone on to help others.
''I learn an awful lot from the young people,'' Potashnik said, ''and even after 45.6 years of teaching, I am still learning.''
Potashnik watches very little television, he said, preferring to read and travel. After retiring, he hopes to do more traveling and plans to continue working on his book.
A Howland resident, Potashnik is married to the former Jean Porrini. They have three children, a son, Charles Jr., and daughters, Kristen and Sue.