Teaching in the Midwest

My story tonight is the reason I didn’t become a teacher, and how I became a teacher anyway, and loved it. This began about 77 years ago. My Dad had been a high school English teacher, before he became an Elementary school Principal. Both of his sisters were teachers. Dad’s mother, my Grandmother had been a teacher before she married. So everyone told me that I would be a teacher because it was in my blood. Well being a bit of a stubborn little girl, I said no I would not. This went on most of the years I was growing up.

When I got to college I did major in Elementary Education, but two things happened. In elementary art, I, who usually got good grades, got a “C”. I got better than that when I was in elementary school. The other thing, my sorority sisters who were in their third and fourth years complained that they got yelled at in practice teaching if the children didn’t form a perfectly straight line when they lined them up. I thought that was ridiculous so I switched my major to English with a minor in Psychology. I was very happy and I didn’t really want to be a teacher anyway. Right? Well, not quite.

imageWhen we lived in Sigourney Iowa, I got a call from the high school superintendent. He badly needed a substitute and practically begged me to come. Some of our children were in school. and Jim’s office was in the home so he could watch them. And we certainly could use the money. So I said yes. Well, I loved it. And the superintendent liked my work. I wasn’t really legal in Iowa. But he said he’d rather have me with a college degree that people who were legal with only 10 hours of Normal School and no college who were considered legal. He joked and said he’d list me as a janitor. So I continued as needed which wasn’t a lot but I really, really loved it.

Then years later when we moved to Muscatine, Iowa, I applied at the Jr. High right across the field from our home. I was hired legally under an emergency certificate. I worked 3/4 time schedule which meant I would be home when my children got home or soon thereafter. Again I loved teaching even Jr. High, which many teachers said they didn’t like. I even had my daughter in one of my classes and she loved it because her friends liked the class.

So I became a teacher, and then later moved into preschool administration that I was definitely qualified to do. But that is another story. So this is how I got into teaching. And it was a wonderful experience, so maybe the family was right after all.

When the high school superintendent talked me into substituting, I told him I would substitute for any class except boys gym. In my thinking the obvious reason was that a woman can’t just race into a boys gym if a fight started or if someone got hurt. Sure enough, one day they did ask me to sub for boys gym, and I did refuse.

The second event made me think the teacher wasn’t really sick but knew what was going to happen and just didn’t want to be there. It was a Science class. The teacher had left her notes for me, about what was to happen that day. It seems the class had acquired an incubator so they could turn some eggs into chickens and see the whole process in the classroom. So that day we were to open the eggs which hadn’t hatched as they were supposed to do. Those kids had opened the incubator too many times so the chicks didn’t make it. We were opening rotten eggs and the smell was horrific. The kids supposedly learned a lesson about following directions, But their substitute teacher did not feel that was one of her finer or more pleasant days of teaching. I’m still laughing.

Other than those two incidents, everything else went well, and it was a fun time for me being there with those kids and working with them, hoping to add something a little special for them. So once again, it is almost tomorrow. I will wish you a good night of precious sleep, with happy dreams. I also wish you a joyous Christmas time with family and friends, and memories of Christmases past. God bless each of you and those you love. Goodnight. Hugs!


About Bertie

Retired and luvin' it.
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