Saturday, January 14, 2006

In the Beginning...

Just who is elementaryhistoryteacher….

I grew up wanting to be a teacher. I would go home from school each day and teach my dolls and stuffed animals everything I had learned that day. My mother encouraged me by buying me a real blackboard, grade book, and allowed me to wear her high heels. My teachers encouraged my play by giving me discarded textbooks and extra activity pages.

I graduated from Woodward Academy, formerly Georgia Military Academy, in College Park, Georgia. You can learn more about Woodward here. There were high expectations for me at home and at school. No one ever helped me much with my assignments. I was expected to figure things out on my own. When I was off to college I expressed interest in obtaining an education degree, but my father wasn’t too keen on the idea of paying for a degree that would not garner a higher wage for me. Dad wanted more bang for his buck. I changed my major to law.

For a time I went to school at night and completed the second year of my education while I worked as a junior clerk for the State and Superior Courts for a county north of Atlanta. I helped people research the old documents in the record room, indexed deeds, and collected traffic fines. Occaisionally when I wasn’t too busy I would look at my own family records. I would sit stare at the old fashioned scrawl denoting the sell or purchase of a plot land for one my ancestors. I would run my hands over the pages and think that someone back in the 1800s had run their hands over the same pages….maybe even my ancestor themselves.

Eventually I got a job with a law firm. There were four partners and they all had their own areas of expertise. One lawyer handled real estate and tort cases, another handled divorces and state court matters, a third lawyer handled criminal cases, and the fourth attorney, my boss, handled collection matters. I learned a lot working for him and quickly found myself a one girl show handling calendar calls, filing law suits, compiling reports for clients, and maintaining several accounts worth thousands of dollars. I was fairly ruthless as a paralegal for a collection practice. We had this one man who owed several thousands of dollars in back rent to a business client. The debtor had called the office to taunt us and said we’d never find him to serve papers because he had friends and they were helping him hide. He hung up on me saying we’d never find him. I tried. This man was fairly well known in his career, but he was right. He had friends covering for him. One night I was watching the news and my guy was the lead story. Seems he fell off one of the downtown skyscrapers in Atlanta due to his job and broke several bones in his body. The next morning I found out where he was in the hospital and had the state court marshal hightail it over there to serve our lawsuit. The marshal called me from the nurse’s office to tell me that my defendant was in an oxygen tent. “Do you really want to serve him?” the Marshall asked. “Is he conscious?” I countered. The Marshal confirmed that the defendant was conscious and he lifted the tent to hand the papers my guy. My old boss used to love to tell that story when new clients would want to know if we were aggressive in our efforts. Just call me Bulldog!

I married the best man that could be found anywhere. He is without a doubt my soul mate, my best friend, and the man my Lord intended for me. Hubby dear and I met when he worked for my Dad right out of high school. We met when I was 15 and we were married soon after I turned 22. He was in the Navy at the time so, I had to give up my job and, we moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia where our first child was born. I worked as a paralegal for a time for a law firm in Virginia. It was very interesting as my new firm handled collection matters all over the United States, so I had to hire and maintain relationships with firms from New York to California. I enjoyed it. The two men I worked for were from New York and were both Jewish. They learned many things about southerners and Baptists, and I learned many interesting things about their northern Jewish heritage.

Our move home finally happened in 1986. We were glad to be back in Georgia. I managed to get my old job back, my husband began a career in air freight, and things began to settle down.

When our son began school I became a stay-at-home mom and began a career as a PTA volunteer, or the time period of my life my husband refers to as the “can’t you just say no” period. I held every office for my son’s PTA in elementary and middle school including council president for the entire county. I also helped to incorporate my son’s high school PTA since it was a brand new school. I organized meetings, principal luncheons, teacher luncheons, lobby-at-the-capital events and don’t forget all of the holiday parties for my son’s classrooms. I also did some freelance work for various clients completing title exams for real estate closings, bankruptcy investigations, Georgia state archives research, background checks, and small account collections. Our daughter was born in 1993. She remembers going with me on my daily jaunts around to several of the local courthouses as a toddler.

Though I was very busy I still thought about teaching…..that’s one reason why I was so involved with my son’s schools. I finally decided to go back to school and obtain the credits I needed to get my certificate. I am beginning my ninth year of teaching and though I get frustrated from time to time I don’t regret changing my career. Though I realize if I had started teaching four to five years out of high school I would be close to retirement I don’t regret following the path that I followed. Every experience I had on my way to becoming a teacher gave me one more thing to store in my toolbox for success. It is amazing how many times my experience in dealing with the public has played a part in a tense conference situation. Though I do not like to get up in front of groups of adults and speak I can do it due to my PTA and calendar call experience.

I certainly would never regret the time I had with both of my babies during their formative years. Economically it wasn’t easy sometimes, but I know I did the right thing for me.

I adore teaching. My students, past and present, will tell you that elementaryhistoryteacher dearly loves each of them, dearly loves this great country of ours, and dearly loves history. I have worked with some great dedicated individuals and have been fortunate enough to work for principals who understand where my strengths lie.

When I grow up (age is not an indication to how you feel) I want to write, and write, and write. This blog is the beginning of that next career.

I’m happy that you might witness this next evolution of my life. :)

and so……here is my first post:

In the beginning the elementary history teacher created a blog site and the blog site was empty, a formless template cloaked in darkness. And the elementary history teacher was hovering over the surface of her keyboard pondering her first post. Then the elementary history teacher said, "Let there be content details," and there was information about content. And other elementary history teachers saw that it was good. Then the elementary teacher seperated opinions from strategies. She called the opinions personal musings subject to change and she called the strategies necessary components to a strong curriculum. Together these ideas made up the first post.


Hugh O'Donnell said...

Nice new look on your site!

You have created a great resource here.

Hugh aka Repairman

EHT said...

Thanks, Hugh! I feel the same about your site as well.

Milton Ramirez said...

Very useful and interesting blog. I was delighted to find and watch the video about Depression.

Hope and wish the best for you, your career and students!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Came here to learn more about the one behind Georgia on My Mind :o)

Enjoyed learning about you :o)

Blessings & aloha!
(from Coastal Georgia(