Ogdensburg English teacher ready for the next chapter in life

Photo providedMichael Rabideau, who will retire this year after a long career as an English teacher at Ogdensburg Free Academy, sits before a display of his books at the school library.

OGDENSBURG — If you graduated from Ogdensburg Free Academy in the last 30 or so years, you probably know the story about a ghost in Gloversville.

The teller of the story, English teacher Michael Rabideau, will be teaching his final classes as a OFA instructor in the coming weeks.

Mr. Rabideau, a native of Plattsburgh and a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh, did some of his early teaching in Gloversville, where he met the aforementioned ghost.

The bulk of his career, however, has been spent at OFA, where he has taught English for grades seven through 12, been the dramatics adviser for 28 years and taught summer school.

For the last six years, he has added the title of author to his resume, and it was a course he was teaching that inspired him to write.

He was teaching a course on Ted Talks, videos by experts on education, business, science, technology and entertainment. One Ted Talk, called “Try Something New for 30 Days,” drew his attention and led him to take the National Book Challenge.

“So for the last six years, I take the month of November,” he said. “And, I write a 50,000-word book.”

At the end of the month, he has a fellow faculty member help him edit the book, then Mr. Rabideau publishes it through Create Space, an Amazon Digital Publishing product.

All of his books are available at Amazon.com or for faculty and staff at OFA, they are available in the school library.

Mr. Rabideau said he has plenty to do in retirement. He has committed to continue to help with school plays, he will teach summer school if he’s asked; he has two more books mapped out and plans to get a lot of use out of his kayak.

He is also going to continue to read.

His first wife, who died in 2010, was a library aide for 10 years at Morristown Central School. She was involved in a book review system in which librarians and aides review books from publishers and then share the reviews with fellow school librarians and the school gets to keep the book for free.

“When my wife passed away, I offered to take up that role for her,” he said.

Over the years, Mr. Rabideau estimates he has taught over 3,000 young people.

“A lot of these kids went on and made a name for themselves,” he said. “Maybe they aren’t millionaires or working in Hollywood, but I saw them become parents and their kids become successful and that’s where real success stories lie.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

St. Lawrence/Franklin County Editor

Slowly self-propelled. Two-time cancer survivor. Nearly 30-year newspaper veteran.

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