This week, Chuck Wendig at his blog, Terrible Minds, has challenged us to write a flash nonfiction story, of about 1,000 words, from our own life. The link for that blog is as follows:
BACK TO SCHOOL by P.S. Joshi
I’d gone to a year of business college and been working in offices for three years and didn’t like it. A friend of my mother’s, whose daughter was my friend, told Mom the U.S. Government was offering a special fast-track program for education students to make it possible for them to start teachin in two years.
My dad didn’t think I should quit my job as it was under Civil Service, but my mom supported me fully. She thought I could successfully do anything any of my friends had done. My dad’s mother had been saying I should go to college for years. She was now happy.
Since the Baby Boom kids had started school, the need for teachers had drastically increased. New schools had even been built to handle the overflow. Teachers had found themselves trying to impart knowledge in places like teachers’ lounges and auditoriums. It was nerve racking. In one case I heard a teacher say she found herself blind from stress for a short time one afternoon.
The government responded by creating encouraging programs to lure students into the education college. The program I chose was a two-year concentrated course consisting of a combination of beginning college courses and College of Education courses. My area of interest was Elementary Education. After you started teaching, you were required to go back and finish up the required courses needed for graduation when you could fit them into your schedule.
I soon decided to see if I could manage to finish and get my degree in four years by going full-time. I had saved enough money to finish the first two years. My dad agreed to loan me enough for the third year. I then applied for a special government loan to cover the last year.
That was a great loan. Every year you taught, the government paid part of the loan to help you out. If you were teaching in a school with a certain percentage of children getting government aid, the government repaid even more of your loan. I did qualify one year for that extra payment. I paid the loan off in about six years. Of course, in those days, if you lived at home and commuted, it cost only about $1,000 per year. It was a city college at the time. If you lived within the city limits, it was even less.
I made a mistake though. I was doing okay in my classes, but didn’t have a social life. I still had poor study habits that had carried over from high school. If I could go back and meet my young college self. I’d kick me. I should have known better. I also was not aware of the need for a councilor. My parents had never gone to college, and my brother lived far away. We rarely saw him.
I decided to go through rush and try to get in a sorority. At Akron University at that time, you had little social life if you didn’t belong to a sorority or fraternity.
I found a group I fit into so they accepted me as a pledge. I enjoyed the activities, too much. I began to be satisfied with C’s. My average was so-so when it should have been in the top third.
When I finally went to a councilor to see about doing student teaching, I got the shock of my life. He told me my average was below the requirement needed to do student teaching. From then on I fought for A’s to bring it up. When I finally qualified and did my student teaching in a first grade, it was great. I worked with a first grade teacher in a school in a scenic area south of Akron, Portage Lakes. My directing teacher and I got along well.
A friend, who’d started college right after high school and was already teaching, told me if you wanted to teach in Akron, you had to have an “A” in student teaching. I had a goal and gave all the effort I could. I spent most of my time working on lesson plans and teaching.
Some of the girls in the sorority were upset I didn’t spend more time in sorority activities, but when I considered the alternative, it was no contest. I spent as many hours teaching as possible. It was the most important thing in my life at that time, and I was good at it. I’d finally found a job I was perfectly suited for. I consider that a blessing. I earned an “A”. Not only that, I was asked by the superintendent to teach in that school district the next year.
The county schools didn’t pay as much as the city schools, but teaching there I was closer to my parent’s home where I was still living. It was also a lovely area and shorter drive, especially in winter. In northeastern Ohio, winters can be brutal.
I had taken two subjects every summer to lesson the load the other two semesters, so the semester I did my student teaching, I only had one other subject, the seminar for it. The next semester, I only had one music course to complete for graduation. I took it in night school.
I graduated, and the school district put me under partial contract to teach in a summer school program. I was more than ready to go back to work and earn money. That fall, I was hired under full contract and assigned a second grade.
I was assigned a first grade the next year and continued teaching that level for almost nine years. I got married in June of 1975, and went on maternity leave the following Easter.. I was almost 35 years old by then. Our son was born in June of 1976. One of the parents even gave me baby clothes she’d sewn. I decided not to return after the year’s ;leave since I was expecting our daughter about the time I was supposed to return.