Appreciating The Teacher I Lived With
It’s here, “Teacher Appreciation Week”. Yes, it only happens in May, but most school systems take an entire week to honor the hundreds and thousands of educators who work tirelessly with all kids. Growing up, everyday was “Teacher Appreciation Day” because I lived with one, my Dad Neil Grant.
I can’t ever remember if Dad ever said he was interested in doing anything else. He began his teaching career in 1973 at Ohio Co. Middle School. During the summers, he would take other jobs to help support Mom and then me. He dug ditches for the water department and he ran Oldham Park in Beaver Dam. Although his focus in school was to teach social studies, he was brought in for a while to help teach science. I can recall many night visits to the middle school lab where specimens were kept, baby horse in formaldehyde anyone? I would help him decorate his room. Honestly, I ran rough shot all over the school. I wanted a locker. I wanted to work on my dribbling in the gym. I wanted to play in the band room. My sister was worse; she got into things more than I did when she was little.
Dad wore a tie everyday to school. He complains about the teachers today not being as strict with their own dress code. For better or worse, teachers now like to be more comfortable. He stayed up very late only to get up at 7 am and get ready for school. I think I know where I get my insomnia from. In addition to his classroom duties, he coached multiple sports throughout his career, and he would wash all the uniforms himself, in the home economics room. A lot of people have asked whether or not I was able to have my Dad as a student, I did, for one day. Middle school can be an exciting and scary time. Since I wanted to be in band, I was placed in one of two homerooms. The social studies teacher for my homeroom was Dad. He didn’t point me out, thank God! but he told the students how he had known one of their parents since first grade. I think we played trivia, which is one my favorite things in the world, but I sat on my hands and I didn’t participate. The next day, I was moved to the other band homeroom. Whew! I can recall two occasions where I got in trouble and since my Dad was in the same building, he was consulted with me standing right there. Once it was for a fight that really wasn’t a fight; I pushed one of my friends into the desks after she wouldn’t let up on teasing me. The other time, I did very poorly on a book report assignment, “let me get your father”, so embarrassing! If you had a parent as a teacher, the struggle was real.
I never wanted to be a teacher, but my sister did. She’s in her eleventh (!!!) year at Ohio County High School where Dad finished up his career. Hillary actually student-taught at Daviess County High School and she taught a semester at Owensboro Senior. She also substituted some in Louisville. It’s a lot of work to become a teacher, my patience would have never lasted. Mrs. Wise teaches Early American History, World History which includes dual credit from WKU, and Criminal Justice.
Dad retired in 2007. He can stay up as late as he wants now. However, he still teaches from time to time. He reads to his granddaughter Zoey who is almost finished with her first year of school. They work puzzles, play games, and they practice soccer together. Zoey has said she wants to be a chef, but will the teacher bug bite? I’ll let you know in about fifteen years.