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I am quite proud to have been a teacher for thirty-eight years

I came to teaching quite by accident I always had an interest in the arts; perhaps becoming a fashion designer

Happy Life Moment…Dream Maker…My family together at Aunt’s wedding… I was the flower girl…

However, overcoming my own challenging childhood… Parents divorcing early in my life…I was called upon to take care of myself…Due to my mother’s work… I had to get myself to school each morning…I was a latchkey child…In addition to that responsibility, I had a sister who was six years older, with mental health issuesI felt my mother was relying on me to look after her

My early life, definitely lead me to the realization….I had a tremendous need to helping others….

So, in my senior year of high school, I made the decision to become a social worker, and attend Florida State University, in TallahasseeIn sharing my decision with an uncle…It was he who suggested, becoming a teacher, because it would better suit me… He believed it was….

A more stable career for a young woman...

Following this insight; One particular day that I will never forget, in my senior English class at Miami High SchoolMy favorite, pretty, young teacher, Ms. Kempler, commented that she liked my dress!… She said that it reminded her of the University of Florida… It was the University’s colors of “orange and blue“…

Wow, I so appreciated her comment!.. Back then because of my personal life, I never felt noticedMs. Kempler did notice me!

Ms. Kempler had gone to the University of Florida; in a town called Gainesville… I had never even heard of, until this very moment…Well… my decision becoming a teacher, was made that day in 1966 my senior year, and go to the University of Florida, just like Ms. Kemper!

Thank you,

Dear Ms Kempler

Soon after, that February in 1967…my mother died unexpectedly, but before she passed…

I shared with her the news, in the hospital, that I was just accepted to the University of Florida, and made her a promise that day, I would go to college!

The road was definitely not easy…Living with friends until this challenging high school year ended… Graduation, and then working that summer in New York where my father was living…Monies earned would help with college expenses… College funds were minimal…

I would be beginning my college career alone … My best friend’s mother saw me off at the Miami Seaboard Train Station August,1967…I Arrived on campus in a taxi… aloneWatching everyone with their families , and I by myself and determination…

My early college school years were quite difficult… I was even told by a college advisor…I did not belong because of my test scores…Yet, I was determined to prove them wrong …And I feel so blessed…I was determined…I succeeded… Even getting married young, while attending college; and having my daughter,…

March of 1972 I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education…

Doing it with self- determination and blessed with college grants and loans, and food stamps…

Then immediately, getting my first teaching job…April 1, 1972…Traveling 90 miles a day just to teach…

Now as I reflect on my thirty-eight years; I am quite proud of all accomplished…

I have taught so many children from grades ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade; dating back from “1972”, up to my last year, retiring in “2015” …And spending more than twenty-five years in first grade…

I also went on to get a Masters of Science in Administration from an accelerated program from Nova University…an opportunity I felt would enrich my teaching journey …

And then later, I even had a wonderful opportunity teaching a college seminar for beginning teachers back at the University of Florida, while on a paid sabbatical working on an advanced course work in counseling education…I felt like I was living dream my mother had for me…

And I have never looked back… Becoming a teacher was the most important decision I made to channel my passion for helping…

Thanks to my mother, and those that believed in my determination... I was teaching our young precious children!!…

How I hope my students can still remember back to the time they spent in my class so many years ago, and remember that love I have for them, smile warmly at some of the memories, and definitely have the confidence in themselves that they can amount to everything they put their minds”

And…now more than ever…I will always advocate for our children

“Reflections”… My Journey Does Continue…

Posted in Reflections

My Dearest…Mary

Mary and Me… Celebrating Mary’s 100th birthday!!!

Mary Towers has been an inspiration to both; my professional and personal life…

Our story begins when I was hired by Mr. Bill Irby, principal of Alachua Elementary School, in Alachua, Florida; in the fall of nineteen seventy-three… I was hired for a paraprofessional position…

Before then, I had been a beginning teacher at Browning Pearce Elementary, in Palatka, Florida… traveling ninety miles daily… Alachua Elementary was fifteen miles from my home; so I accepted this position… I was assigned to tutor first grade students who needed extra support…Hoping that if a teaching position would become available…I would be hired…

Mary was one of the five teachers I was to assist in an open classroom; Learning Community A… LCA, as it was called; housed five classrooms, four of which were first grade and one was kindergarten; with over one hundred students separated only by partitions…I was to be placed with my small group, in the middle of this very large room divided by furniture and mobile chalkboards… Believe it or not, it it was not all that noisy…

On my very first day, I will never forget how I met Mary… I was walking through the unit, being introduced by the team leader, Chris Hirsch, to the teachers of the team in LCA… Mary being one of them, was very busy with a particular student…A little girl in her class was in the bathroom dealing with intestinal worms, and Mary was taking care of this most challenging situation…How impressed I was by how Mary was managing such a situation …

It was then, after a year, my wish came true…I did get reassigned to teach a first grade class!

And then, opening up the very next year in nineteen and seventy-five; one of the most special of my teaching opportunities opened up!

I was to team with Mary Towers, a professional relationship lasting nine years…. ending in 1984…when Mary retired…

This special opportunity arose in the summer of seventy-five, when Mr.Irby, offered me a co-teaching position with Mary, in a newly federally funded, early childhood education program called ECPC… The Early Childhood Preventative Curriculum Program...

This innovative program was designed as an intervention for diverse, young children who were screened in kindergarten, exhibiting difficulties with their learning…

This center based program was designed with no more than sixteen students, assisted by a full-time aide who would be responsible for the reinforcement associated with specific activities; that would build upon the deficits, diagnostically determined through pre and post tests through the child’s auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile learning styles…

Mary and I each had our own group of children assisted by our full time aide.. Our class was housed within the large classroom in LCA…which now had mobilized walls separating each of the five classrooms; providing the children less distractions…

Our morning time was devoted to four specific centers that incorporated the curriculum:

Reading; Follow Up Reading, and Language Arts activities: Listening; and last “Willy Worm” an aide directed center with specific activities prescribed by the pre and post testing…

The reading curriculum utilized, the Sullivan Programmed Readers…a successful program of the time…. teaching children decoding skills in reading context within a linguistic progression of sound-symbol relationships...

Teaching those nine years with Mary really flew by!!…Sadly both our Team and ECPC Program ended with Mary’s retirement... Mary and I can look back and be quite proud of what our children accomplished from the Early Childhood Preventative Curriculum Program…

Many of our children went on to have successful lives; some going into local politics and a few playing collegiate and professional football…

Mary made this for me…when she retired…1984….
June 5, 1984…..Mary’s Retirement…

As I have reflect on our years together, this special relationship provided me the knowledge and experiences I learned from teaching with Mary…enabling me to evolve into a strong teacher…

Not only has Mary been such an influence on me professionally…Personally, Mary has been a guiding support even more so…

Having lost my mother when I was a senior in high school…I always felt a little lost…Mary was close in age to what my mother’s age would have been…And having such a warm connection with Mary…I always believed my mother, placed Mary in my life for a special reason…I have felt blessed to have Mary in my corner for these forty plus years…

Through the many years I have learned so much about Mary’s beautiful family; especially now that her husband’s recent passing,..Her four children never leave her side…

Mary will be one hundred this year, and she still lives in the same house that she and her husband built after World War II; on land that has been in her family for generations … There are always family gatherings with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, other family members and close friends …

What I dearly appreciate truly about Mary is about service and sacrifice, pertaining to her husband Frank Towers ….their story; how they met and married during World War II…Frank was a true hero of the War…He was a commissioned officer in the 30th Infantry Division during the Invasion at Normandy and helped in the liberation of the Jewish Holocaust survivors on a train from the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp….

Mary was still actively involved in my life even in her early nineties…The years passing we have kept our special lunches just to keep in touch…

Then when I began teaching at Idylwild in 20O7…She and her husband offered to assist me in my move to be closer to Idylwild…Utilizing their large van and Frank’s technological skills….with my computer…

Mary would even volunteer in my classroom…I so loved and appreciated her help…

She did so much: she would help any child that needed assistance with their math or reading; at home she would make all the children flash cards for reading practice; bring in much needed school supplies; make our individual math packets…
Our children and Idywild loved her…And in 2011 Idywild nominated Mary for “Volunteer of the Year…

With my retirement in 2015…I have moved to Palm Coast, to be closer to the ocean…

I am still loving and appreciating Mary…

And… so looking forward to coming back to Gainesville; spring and fall…celebrating our friendship with our special lunch dates…

Thank you Dearest…Mary♥️

Posted in Reflections

Facilitating Teaching Through Inspiration

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When I first began, I found  children were more ready to learn…They came to school in a time when lives were less  complex, and there was not a definite distinction of those that have or those that do not…I really did not have to worry so much about my creativity,  and  it was not an issue to utilize any definitive skill in my teaching…Children learned and were inspired…I could just teach and enjoy…

It was a simpler time… And moreover, this was during the  time when children of color finally were “permitted” to attend; during Integration and Civil Rights; early ’70’s…. It was understood the every child was there to learn and wanted to learn… Parents sent their children to learn… Those  were  the values shared by “all”.

Today’s world is so much different ;and  my teaching has had to meet those needs to continue to  facilitate this love of learning…Our children may not always come prepared, and not by their choice but because of some economic or parental instability in their home life…They may come to school hungry, sleepy, or ill prepared because they did not have a time to do  their homework….These precious children  live in chaos… 

I am a stronger teacher…My love for my children and passion for teaching is all that  is important… I will provide these essential  skills,  safety, and enthusiasm in my classroom  …I will facilitate their learning and love for  learning….

Posted in Reflections

Reflections on my Teaching…

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I am quite proud to have been a teacher for almost forty years…

I came to teaching quite by accident

I always had an interest in the arts; perhaps becoming a fashion designer

However, overcoming my own challenging childhood, lead me to the realization….I had a tremendous need in helping others….

So, in my senior year of high school, I made the decision to become a social worker, and attend Florida State University, in Tallahassee

In sharing my decision with an uncle…It was he who suggested, becoming a teacher, because it would better suit me… He believed it was….

A more stable career for a young woman...

Then, following this insight; One particular day that I will never forget, in my senior English class at Miami High School…My favorite, pretty, young teacher, Ms. Kempler, commented that she liked my dress! She said that it reminded her of the University of Florida… It was the University’s colors of “orange and blue“…

Wow, I so appreciated her comment! Back then, not ever feeling noticed … Ms. Kempler noticed me!

Ms. Kempler had gone to the University of Florida; in a town, Gainesville… I had never even heard of before this very moment!!!

Well… my decision becoming a teacher, was made that day in 1966, and go to the University of Florida, just like Ms. Kemper…

Thank you,

Dear Ms Kempler ♥️

And I have never looked back… Becoming a teacher was the most important decision I made to channel my passion for helping…

Teaching our young precious children!!…