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Corvallis Teacher Reveals All

I was raised the son of peasant farming parents in the Bitterroot.  They wished something better so I aspired to become a poor peasant teacher in the Bitterroot.  They sold the farm for a fortune and I’m still a peasant teacher.  Ironic?  We do have two things in common that have shaped me:  One, they drilled into me a sense of place; Two, they are still my parents and often order me around.  When I turn 40 in the near future I’m not going to let them get away with it any longer.

I grew up in the same farmhouse in Hamilton, MT that my father did – even slept in the same bedroom he did as a kid.  We had a television, radio, running water, electricity, a record player that was later replaced with an 8 Track Tape player, and milk that came from a cow and not a grocery case.  What we didn’t have was a computer, internet, Xbox, VCR, DVD, IPod, or digital cable.  I have all those things now.  They replaced open space, shooting a .22 rifle, driving a tractor, bucking bales, feeding cows, and changing sprinkler pipes.  I’m not too nostalgic but I always seem to pause at re-runs of Hee Haw or Lawrence Welk when I’m surfing channels and can’t seem to figure out why?  My son wonders the same thing.

My ticket “up? had to be through education.  I attended the University of Montana, realized the most powerful influences in my life were teachers, studied madly to become one and was rewarded with a job as a wilderness ranger for the United States Forest Service.  Not exactly the classroom I was looking for.  Granted, I learned many interesting skills, one of which was blowing things up with dynamite, but hardly a good exercise of my teaching degree.  This was followed by nearly three years where I sold log homes on the retail market.  Then in one screeching moment, I was teaching in a classroom at Corvallis High School.  It is a long story of how this came to pass but I often reflect upon what de Gaulle once said along the lines of graveyards being full of indispensable people.

That was 13 years ago.  Some of my happiest and most sad moments have occurred within those brick walls.  To describe that feeling can be summed up by saying that I have been “involved? with my school and community.  There has never been a day that it did not give me back just as much as I gave it.  To be honest it is a job I would do for free – if I won the lottery tomorrow.  After all, I do have a lifestyle to which I have grown accustomed.  I like what I do but I always remember that students and their parents are consumers.  They want the best for the least amount.  I want the best no matter the cost.  The middle ground is where we meet on a daily basis never forgetting that I sat in one of those desks for a long time to get to where I am at today.

Posted by on 02/07 at 04:27 PM






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