Trail of a Heart 12 – High School Passions

 In Autobiography

In high school, I was involved in a lot of activities and had male friends in my circle, but never allowed myself to be interested in any of them. I kept pretty busy with being in French Club, drama and choir while following a Business track for my general education. Having years later become a teacher myself, I must share some images of one of the most memorable teachers I had in high school, and there were several.

Miss Shipp was my business courses teacher. What an amazing person. She taught us much more than the demands of the curriculum. After having been in her class, I felt confident that I could accomplish anything. She had a way about her that just drew her often-reluctant students in. I know I was not the only one who came out of her class wanting to be just like her. I have to say that I used many of her fun techniques and gimmicks in my years of teaching.

One of the most special things I got from her was a sense that the world was bigger than Hobbs, New Mexico. She would count out our rows in different languages. “Erins, zwei, drei, vier, funf. Uno, dos, tress, cuatro, cinco, seis. Un, deux, tois, quatre, cinq. Ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku.” And on. I heard German, Spanish, French, Japanese and, of course, English. She was always so upbeat and encouraging to her students.

Having had all my four sisters also take her courses, it was a fun thing we shared in our family. A few years ago, 50+ years later, we made contact with her and took her out to lunch. It was so special. She is still going strong. It was as if we were all transported back to her classroom. Even though she is in her 80’s, she has the same spunk. That’s what I’m talking about!

From the time I was about eight years old, I had dreamed of becoming a teacher. Being with teachers of this caliber fine-tuned my ideals for the profession. I think it odd now that I was on a business track and not the college preparatory one. Looking back, I don’t think I had the confidence to be on a college track, which I believed was way above my abilities. I realized much later that I did have what it would have taken, but if you don’t think you can, you really can’t. A word of caution to all you parents and teachers.

Actually all of this business training did help me in my path to becoming a teacher, not the least of which was being able to earn a living as a secretary to work my way through my undergraduate degree. But, I get ahead of myself.

 Watch for the next installment.

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