Sunday, January 1, 2012

Teaching is my family's business -- I aim to protect it

I am a fourth generation teacher. My father was my junior high principal, and HIS father was his high school principal. My mother-in-law was a teacher. My sister is a teacher. My sister-in-law and her husband were teachers. My cousin was a principal. My son is a trumpet professor and my daughter-in-law is a teacher. I take this profession seriously, since it is the family business.

I went into teaching in the late 60's, earning a whopping $5300 my first year. I taught three years before I returned to a position, and I taught on emergency certificates four of my first five years of teaching. I've taught students from every grade level in public education, K-12. I've taught in three states, at seven schools, for ten principals. I've been an elementary classroom teacher, a school media specialist. A multi-categorical resource special education teacher, a Title I remedial reading teacher.  A high school English teacher, teaching all levels from remedial to honors.

I've worked hard to prepare myself for the challenges of my classroom. Besides a teaching certificate in English Language Arts, Library Media, I have a Reading Specialist graduate degree, nearly 20 hours past my masters in special education, and I am a National Board Certified Teacher, renewed until 2020. I love learning as much as I love teaching, and I hope that shows.

Currently I teach an English elective, Reading for Pleasure...a lucky combination of everything I've learned about students, about reading, literature, books and people. When young teachers tell me they want my job, I point out it only took me 30 years, experience K-12, jobs as a classroom teacher, a library media specialist, a special education teacher before I felt qualified to teach this class.

This is all to introduce myself, and explain how passionately I feel about public education, its teachers and students, and the parents who share their children with us every day.

I take the attacks on teachers and public education very personally. These people, most of whom have never taught a day in their lives, have marginalized the training, the experiences, the commitment, my family. They are trying to sell off the family business for their own profit. My family and I have invested ourselves day-by-day for over a century to public education.

I'm near the end of my career -- this is my 37th year of teaching. At least two of my four granddaughters have talked about becoming teachers. I would love to tell them I worked to protect the profession from profiteers who know nothing about the joys and heartbreak teachers experience in the classroom.

I hope to talk here about books, about my class. I hope to share letters I will be writing to my policymakers here in Oklahoma as I fight for my profession. I hope to find like-minded folks who want to talk books and education.


  1. Excellent introduction to the wonderful leader we know and love.

  2. I can't wait to keep up with your posts.