Once a teacher, always a teacher

Published 10:38 am Thursday, October 20, 2016


wonder how many teachers agree with the saying “Once a teacher always a teacher?”  

I can only tell you my sister, who has been a teacher since she graduated from college more than 50 years ago, believes so.  

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Evidently, her friend Sue agreed as she sent a picture showing how a colony of ants had built a dam to get over some water from the Hurricane Matthew destruction in South Carolina. 

It was something I had never seen before and that statement was at the top of her caption.  

This column I am writing today is to honor my Latin teacher, Mrs. Jane Smith.  

I will never forget the first time I saw her in 1965 when she was new to George Rogers Clark High School and was taking the place of Mrs. Scott, who had retired from teaching Latin. 

I remembered as she was introduced to the student body how the boys in the school whistled and yelled. Yes, she did have beauty without, but I learned her beauty was within also. 

I took Latin because I learned a great part of the English language was derivative of Latin. I have to say, more than 50 years later, I am so glad I did. 

Not only because I learned Latin, but for the relationship I have had with Jane.

She was a very good, but serious teacher. She was a teacher who believed in getting the job done while you were in her class but one also who would listen to her students if they had a problem and would be patient in her teaching to make sure you understood before a class assignment. I felt she was fair in her grading, which I did not think all teachers were.  

I can’t help but remember an algebra teacher I had once who made absolutely no sense to me from day one and if I asked her a question she made me feel stupid. 

I have to say, what a difference a teacher can make. 

Her way of teaching was not for me, but another algebra teacher, Bill Baber, was easy for me to understand and I made all As if I remember correctly in his class.  

Jane Smith not only was my friend in class but remained my friend after I got out of school. She and her husband, Paul Smith, have been my friends all these years. 

I knew little about Paul other than the fact he was a great Clark County basketball player the year Clark County went to the finals in the state to lose by only two points.   

Jane and Paul went to Georgetown College where they met and married and have celebrated more than 50 years together.

If I can remember correctly, Paul played basketball at Georgetown College and Jane was a cheerleader. Jane had come to Georgetown from Texas. 

I remembered Jane telling me once she was not at first attracted to him because she thought he was like a country hayseed, but it was those same country actions that later she fell for. They ended up having one daughter, Renee.  

Jane’s health has began to falter but her beauty has not. 

Paul Smith’s love for her has not faltered either. 

They are a couple to be admired. I happened to meet him out at the Pilot View grocery recently, when I went there for lunch.  

He spoke of Jane sweetly.  

My days of sitting in Latin class came flooding back. I remembered learning about togas, Romulus and Remus and the Roman and Greek gods. I have been able to understand a lot of medical terms from taking Latin throughout life.

I had to mention to Paul I still remembered my Latin that Jane taught me. I had to prove my point by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in Latin. I couldn’t help but think that it was an important part of Jane’s teaching to teach us something as important as that in Latin.  

I also could not help but think what a shame that the Pledge of Allegiance is no longer repeated in the public schools.  

So, I am going to show you what I learned in Latin,  “Ego, vexillo unitorum statuum Americae, ac Reipublicae, quam referrit ipsum fidelitatum Vovio uni nationi sub Deo indivisibli.  

That, ladies and gentlemen, is, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the repulblic for whose kingdom it stands, one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

I also remembered the song at Christmas we learned to sing in Latin, “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” or “Adeste Fidelis, Laete, Triumphantes.”  

I could not help but think how much we need teachers like Jane Smith in our schools today and feeling so blessed to have had her for my teacher. 

How many of you can remember something you learned more than 50 years ago in high school? 

I think it says a lot for the teacher who taught me. 

Thank you, Jane Smith for being my teacher and my friend all these years. 

The statement “once a teacher, always a teacher” has held true for you in my book because what you taught has remained with your student always.