"...many are called, but few are
-- Matthew 22: 14, RSV
I cannot remember when I did not
want to be a teacher.
From the time I began my career in the fall of 1940 until in
the mid 50s the more I grew and learned the more I enjoyed
what I was doing. Then gradually my work became
routine. There was no longer any challenge and I began to
question whether I really was called to be a teacher.
At that time I was head of the science
department at Pampa
Senior High School in Pampa, Texas. Early in the spring
of 1957 I received an announcement that there would be a
regional science fair held on the campus of West Texas
State University in Canyon in late April. The entry fee was
$10 per school. My principal agreed to pay the fee and one
of my students began work constructing an X-ray tube.
On the Saturday morning of the fair
my husband and I
drove to Canyon to view the exhibits. They were set up in
the hall of one of the buildings, but few people were around
and not much seemed to be happening so we came back
to Pampa. That night about 9:00 p.m. I was curled up on
the divan reading a magazine when the telephone rang. It
was my student, a very excited Malcolm Brown, Jr., calling
to tell me his X-ray tube had won first place in the fair
and he and his sponsor were to receive an all-expense paid
trip to the National Science Fair to be held in Los Angeles
in May. He asked me to go as his sponsor.
Never having been to the west coast
before, naturally I
was thrilled at the prospect. Little did I dream what that
experience would mean to me. In addition to educational
field trips there were special sessions for the teacher-sponsors.
It was those that opened my eyes to the myriad of
opportunities that my students and I were missing. I
learned about science clubs, summer programs for gifted
science students, Institutes for teachers to upgrade their
knowledge in different fields, and about the National Science
I returned to Pampa fired once again
by the boundless
enthusiasm I had once known. I immediately began making
plans for Pampa to have a city-wide science fair the
following spring and I joined the National Science Teachers
Association . My evenings began to be occupied with
advising students about their projects, reading professional
journals, and planning new teaching strategies.
Yes, one night the telephone rang.
It rang insistently to
call me from a life of mediocrity to one in which I would
fulfill my destiny. I first heard the call as a child, but after
17 years of testing in the classroom it came again with
startling clarity and I was chosen.
As long as I live I will be grateful
to Malcolm Brown, Jr., for
he was the person responsible for my hearing the call. I
give thanks that for me one night the telephone rang.