Sunday, September 26, 2010

Teacher Reflects Back on 31-Year Career

His first year salary was approximately $10,000, and he said he did the math to figure out how much he was making per hour. "I averaged four cents an hour," he said. "I sat down the last day of school with (retired Dixon Elementary teacher) Rick Stinson - who was also a first-year teacher that year - and we said to each other, 'Why are we doing this?'" The two of them finally decided their love for working with children was the motivation, and more important to them than the amount of money they were making per hour. "I really enjoyed the kids in the classroom," he said.

His advice to new teachers: learn about human behavior.
"The big piece of advice would be if you haven't had a human psychology course, take one," Willoughby said. "Getting kids motivated to do the work, and understanding why they're not doing their work is the real challenge of teaching. I would also tell them (new teachers) they need to have a sense of humor, and not to come into it like they're the enemy or you're their drill sergeant. They are people, too. "The other takes care of itself," he added. "The highlight won't be the 'straight-A' kid or the athlete that won the state championship. It'll be the ones that changed for the better."

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