It is not about teaching; it is about learning
Today is a milestone for me. It is the 40th anniversary of my first day as a teacher after completing my education at the University of Nebraska and becoming certified as a high school Vocational Agriculture teacher. I am sure I was much less nervous about walking in to my class this morning than I was on that first day of teaching in St. Paul, Nebraska on January 25, 1971. I am also quite sure that I was better prepared this morning than I was on that first day.
Much has changed since that time. I remember that my first contract had a loyalty oath to the United States printed on the back. This was not long after the big Communism scare in this country and all teachers were required to declare loyalty to the country. I had to sign the oath when I accepted that first job. I also remember that I was expected to check during first period that all of my students, who were all male at the time, had shaved that morning and were wearing a belt.
Technology has certainly changed since my first day of teaching. My college instructional technology class consisted mainly of learning how to thread a 16mm movie projector, how to splice broken film, how to run a carousel slide projector, how to care for the acetate roll on an overhead projector, and how to make a copy on an alcohol based duplicating machine, a task you could not complete without walking away with a permanent purple stain on your fingers. I had a manual typewriter in my office and attendance was taken by writing the names of missing students on a slip of paper then attaching it to the outside of my door using the alligator clip that was provided.
My monthly rent for that first appartment was $75 per month and I could fill my car's tank for 35 cents per gallon.
This profession has been good to me and good for me. I look back today with great memories of the students and other professionals I have worked with over the past 40 years.