I began teaching in September of 1978 in Kinston, North Carolina, in a poor, rural, Catholic School. I was a young, naïve, idealistic nun, fresh from convent training and ready to make a difference in this corner of the world. While the school was not segregated, the church still was. So, the in-town church belonged to the fairly wealthy white folks and the church across the tracks belonged to the rest of the population – migrants, Hispanics, African-Americans, and of course the poor.
I was assigned to a self-contained classroom of 5th and 6th graders and taught every subject, including art and music. I became the basketball and volleyball coach for the girls, and learned to drive a school bus where the clutch always stuck and 2nd gear didn’t work. By week three of that year I was exhausted. This was the most difficult life I had ever lived thus far. By the end of the year I knew I could teach anyone, anywhere! This first year formed who I would become both as a person and as an educator. I was hooked for life.
I have since left the convent after many years, become a wife and mother of two beautiful daughters and continued my teaching in a wide variety of situations, many vastly different from that first challenging classroom. The teacher in me has grown to include a wide range of experiences, from the large lecture hall to the one-on-one tutor, from child to adult, from elementary school, to middle school, through high school, to GED prep, from traditional classroom setting to online learning through credit recovery programs like Keystone and APEX.