Teaching a Third of a Century Ago

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Forty-Six

As I was thinking of what to write for this week, I remembered an assignment I did for my Introduction to Education class at Lincoln Memorial University. I have many of my college papers in a file cabinet in my lawnmower shed.

The assignment was to conduct interviews with two teachers using a list of provided questions. We must have had a choice of whether we would receive a grade, for I had written in the upper right hand corner of the cover sheet “WANT A GRADE_____”.

After a visit to the First Baptist Church of Maynardville where I participated in the Lord’s Supper and got to meet and hear their new pastor, I located the paper I wanted. I submitted the assignment to Dr. Ben McClure on May 16, 1985. Thirty-three and a half years later, I am going to share with you excerpts from those interviews.

The assignment to interview two teachers proved to be a very enjoyable experience for me . . . Both were willing and helpful and I am appreciative of their support.
“Teacher A” . . . has been teaching for nine years. Her main reason for choosing teaching as a career was the time off in the summer afforded her to spend it with her children. Teaching makes life interesting for her. (This was related in a tone of voice signifying that it is not necessarily a positive interest.) She complains of getting little respect, having many disciplinary problems, little time to actually teach and no community support. The rewards “A” gets from teaching are few; the only ones she mentioned were seeing results in the few motivated students she has. She sees the lack of parental involvement as the main frustration of teaching. She feels that the rewards of teaching no longer outweigh its frustrations.

“A” believes that the most important personal characteristics a teacher should possess are patience, consistency, and strong discipline. She personally respects the teaching profession, but does not feel that parents presently do. She emphatically declared that she would not encourage her children to teach, and stated that she has already begun to discourage them. The most pressing difficulty that teaching presents for her is personal harassment to herself and her children. The one thing she would like to see changed in education is the removal of those unwilling or unable to be educated. “Teacher A” advises anyone considering the teaching profession to “pray about it”. Her final comment stated that if discipline and public backing do not improve, schools will be hard pressed to find any teachers at all. Further, she feels that ridding the school system of sports in general would greatly improve teaching conditions.

“Teacher B” . . . is presently engaged in her forty-seventh year of . . . teaching . . . Her main reason for entering the teaching profession is that she just wanted to, having a liking for young people. Teaching makes “B’s” life happier; she enjoys it. Her rewards in teaching come from a feeling of helping others, while her frustrations center around those students who just don’t care. For her, the rewards most definitely outweigh the frustrations. She feels that the most important personal characteristic a teacher must possess is patience. She possesses a deep respect for the teaching profession, but feels that the majority of parents don’t. Even though “Teacher B” is obviously quite optimistic about her position, she would not encourage her child to become a teacher. “B” had a slight pause when trying to recall her most difficult task, but finally came up with having to work her schedule around interruptions (such as ball games held during the school day), outside attractions and paperwork. If she could change anything about her job, she would ask for more time to plan. She advises anyone considering the teaching field to take a second look. Her final words to the education major are to prepare well for the job.

If these ladies were still teaching without any leaves, “A” would be in her forty-second year, and “B” would be in her eightieth. Were this the case, it would be interesting to interview them once again, using the same questions. I found it most interesting that the teacher who had taught the longest was the most positive about her experience, but that not even she would recommend her own child to become a teacher. Most notably absent from the interviews of thirty-three years ago are the mention of technology and evaluation.

In the coming weeks, I will interview two teachers currently in the field so you the reader can see what has changed and what has remained the same. Until next we meet in print, I leave you with this blurb from my emails:

A basketball coach told a player who received four F's and one D:
"Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject."

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Obituary

Janice Ann Beeler Fields

Janice Ann Beeler Fields-age 66 of Corbin, Kentucky passed away suddenly Monday morning, February 18, 2019 at her home. She was a loving mother, nana, sister and friend. She will be sadly missed by all. Janice was a member of Nave Hill Baptist Church and was a former co-owner of Fields Apparel in Monticello, Kentucky. She was recently employed at SEKRI, Corbin, Kentucky for 22 years. Preceded in death by parents, James Aubrey and Lillie Beeler, two brothers, Gary and Terry Beeler; nephew, Adam Beeler.

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Judson "Juddy" Bailey

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Frances Jane Nichols

Frances Jane Nichols “Janey”, age 61, of Rockford, went to be with the Lord on February 8, 2019, surrounded by her loved ones. She was a beloved mom, sister, and granny. Preceded in death by parents Jack Huggins and Bernice Van Dyke, brother Jackie Huggins, sisters Sarah Munsey, Sandy Huggins, and Darlene Dunaway.

Raymond Scott Brock

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Peggy Sue Dennison

Peggy Sue (Bailey) Dennison-age 60 of Maynardville passed away Friday morning, February 8, 2019 at her home following a long illness. She was a member of The Church of God at Maynardville.

Survivors: husband, Bobby Ray Dennison; daughters, Mitzi Petty and husband, Chesney;
Trish Houston and Dora Davis; step-children, Jacob Shultz, Jessica Shultz, Jonathon Dennison and Beth De Leon Several grandchildren along with one great-grandchild. Sisters, Vickie Coram and Debbie Bailey. Several nieces, nephews and a host of friends.

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