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Last month, Mount Ayr resident Margaret Bishop spoke with the Record New, about her experiences and thoughts as a long time teacher.
Bishop began her own formal education at Poe number six, a Ringgold county country school. She discussed growing up, with a local school teacher living as a boarder in her parents home. She credits that as the beginning of her desire to teach.
Bishop related memories of the teacher arriving early to light the wood burning stove, not only for warmth in cold weather but for the meal time as well.
Bishop emphasized that at the time, most country schools were a single employee affair. The Teacher would not only teach multiple grade levels, but also prepare meals, and preform custodial duties. She remembers, that the Teachers were often aided in lunch and other administrative duties, by local parents
After getting her basic teaching degree from Northwest Missouri State in 1950, she became a teacher. She began her profession in a Ringgold county country schoolhouse, much like the educator who inspired her.
After teaching for a few years, Bishop took some time off to raise her three sons. While she enjoyed caring for her children, she inevitably returned to her profession.
During the time she was off, standards had changed, and she went back to college to earn a second degree in education, thus starting a new experience in education.
Bishop witnessed the consolidation of the local county schools into what would become MACHS with her return.
Bishop talked about teaching elementary in the original high school building and watched the school progress to the building we now know as the Mount Ayr Elementary school.
She has experienced much joy and fulfillment in teaching in the county’s schools and after 28 years she chose to retire in 1995. She spent her last days in the fifth grade classroom in Mount Ayr Community elementary school.
When asked about her experiences as a educator, Bishop talked about the two fold aspect of teaching. While the technology and methods change, the end result of informing and instructing young minds stays the same.
While Bishop marvels at the growth of technology in the classroom, she states a student still needs a teacher who listens. She felt that it is still the job of the teacher to reach the student, help them grow and reach their full potential. She added this is something universal, all teachers whether teaching in 1952 or 2022 are responsible for.
When asked about her greatest joy as an educator, Bishop smiled and said, her greatest pleasure comes from seeing former students, as adults, reaching a spot in their lives where they are happy with their success, and knowing a teacher has aided in them reaching that potential.