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Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher - Atria Bayside Landing

Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher

Posted on May 8, 2015 by Jesse Hazel

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The urge to teach is a hard one to shed. Josephine “Jo” W. taught elementary, junior high and college, and now the 86-year-old teaches a bridge class to fellow residents at Atria Bayside Landing. The most rewarding aspect of teaching, according to Jo, is the moment your student understands a new concept you’re trying to show them. 

Recently, Josephine shared her thoughts on her 32-year teaching career and how she continues to teach today.

Q: What was your favorite subject in school?

A: English


Q: How long have you been teaching?

A: I started teaching at 26 years old and retired after 32 years.


Q: What inspired you to teach?

A: I attended the University of the Pacific to become a lab technician but was having a difficult time with chemistry. Not having the necessary math skills to succeed was a real struggle, so my college professor encouraged me to become a teacher. The idea appealed to me.


Q: What was it like earning a college degree at a time when many women did not?

A: It was difficult because my blue-collar family did not encourage me to go to college; in fact they discouraged me. While my brother was at war he wrote me a letter stating that he didn’t want me to attend college. His lieutenant reviewed his letter before mailing it and wrote on my brother’s letter, “Go to college.” It was the best advice I ever received and I was sold. I was married with five young children so it was difficult, but I decided to go back to school and attend night classes to earn my bachelor’s degree, teaching credentials, and eventually, my master’s.


Q: In your experience, what is the most challenging aspect of teaching?  

A: The most challenging aspect of teaching is being patient and genuinely caring for your students.


Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching?

A: The most rewarding aspect is seeing a child understand a concept and enjoy school.


Q: What techniques did you/do you use to motivate your students?

A: I used real-life situations to help my students relate to the different concepts I taught.


Q: Have you encountered any of your former students? Any interesting stories about what your students are doing now?

A: Yes, one of my students approached me to say how much they appreciated the way I incorporated music and art (I played the piano while my students painted).


Q: Why is it important to continue one’s education?

A: It’s important to be enlightened to what’s going on in society.


Q: Why do you think learning and keeping your mind active contributes to being healthy and aging well?

A: Learning keeps your mind working and helps you stay mentally alert.


Q: How did the bridge class get started? What made you want to be the teacher?

A: I love playing bridge; it’s a mentally challenging game. I’ve been playing for years and I enjoy teaching others!


Q: What’s the most important lesson teaching has taught you?

A: Teaching has taught me the importance of organizational skills; I worked fulltime and had a family while I was attending school.


Category: Wit & Wisdom

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