My grandmother was a teacher. Her first job out of college was teaching in a rural, one-room schoolhouse. She had to get there early enough to get the fire going so the room would be warm when the students arrived. That was in her contract. She taught all subjects to students of different ages and academic levels When she married, she lost her job because married women had a husband to take care of them and didn’t need to work. By the time I came along, she was teaching first grade in a normal elementary school. She was my first-grade teacher. She was tough and didn’t allow any tomfoolery in the classroom. She probably learned how to manage students back in that one-room schoolhouse because she had to. She couldn’t send them to the principal’s office because there wasn’t one.
My mom was a teacher. She taught high school physical education. The high school only had one sport for girls, basketball. She wanted girls to have a chance to play other sports, so she started a club after school. They played softball, volleyball, ping pong, and did gymnastics. When Title IX passed, the school had to either drop the boy’s baseball team or add a girl’s sport. My mom volunteered to coach a volleyball team even though she had never played in her life. She couldn’t have played because there were no sports for girls when she was growing up. She went on to have one of the winningest high school volleyball programs in Tennessee.
My aunt was a teacher and then went on to become a school counselor.
My cousin started out teaching elementary school and then became a principal.
Three of my nieces are teachers: one in elementary, one in middle, one in college.
When I was a kid, I was often asked if I was going to be a teacher when I grew up like my mom and grandmother. I said, “No way! Being a teacher is too hard.” I knew the challenges teachers faced from students, parents, and the administration. The teachers in my family were dedicated and passionate. I knew that without that passion, I wouldn’t survive a semester. Teaching isn’t just a job, it’s a vocation.
To show my admiration and respect for teachers, I’m giving away a signed copy of There’s No Ham in Hamburgers: Facts and Folklore About Our Favorite Foods. To enter, comment on this post. Not a teacher yourself? Then nominate one of your favorite educators. The drawing will be held on 5/5 at 5pm.