1963 First Teaching Job

Hall High School-Little Rock, Arkansas

   Below is the Hall High School Yearbook photo of John Taylor teaching chemistry in 1963-64.     Notice the crewcut of the times.

Hall High School Chemistry Instructor (1963)

Little Rock, Arkansas

Hall High School Yearbook Photo 1963

Why Does Time Seem To Speed Up, Then Slow Down?

    During our lives, time seems to speed up and slow down. It seemed like I was in the first grade forever, but the 10th grade flew by. Then the 11th grade at LRCHS seem to be a longer year than the previous because of the extreme circumstance that school year with a new school and the Integration Crisis of Central High.

    When you are 6, or 7 or 8, Christmas is always a long way off. I was lucky my birthday is in June, so every half year I would get presents, but from one year to the next was a long time for the special time of Christmas. Then being an adult with children it seems like you just get one Christmas charges paid off and here comes another.

    In 1958 I was in college. Those first 16 weeks seem like a long road. Then, all of a sudden it is May 1963 and time to graduate. But I was comfortable with going to college and working several part time jobs and living at home. I was not ready for it to end, just like high school which ended too soon.


    I was the head chemistry laboratory technician at LRU working 20 hours a week preparing chemicals, and then teaching two or three 3 hour labs per week. But now, I am graduated at 22 and need to go to work as a chemist for my first fulltime job in my life. Dow Smith was moving a plastics division to Little Rock in February 1964, but Uncle Sam was sending me letters about the military. I needed to either go to school or work in a defense industry or be a teacher, another critical occupation. Otherwise I had to give the military 2 years of my life (we had the draft then).


    My major professor, Dr. Wilson Broach did not have a temporary fulltime job at the college for the Fall 1963, just my 26-29 hours chemistry technician/teaching assistant job. There were no more chemistry, physics, or math courses I could take to be a fulltime student for the Fall of 1963. In late July 1963 Dr. Broach told me he had a call from a local high school in desperate need of a chemistry teacher. He told them about me and also told them he would encourage me to apply with the highest recommendation.


    Around the first week of August 1963, I was hired by the Little Rock Public School System. I did not have the ungraduated minor in education plus six hours of practice teaching for a full Arkansas teaching license. The Arkansas State Department of Education granted me a one year emergency teaching license for 1963-64. Now I have my first full time job, a high school chemistry teacher,

    I am Now a Teacher! What a shock!
"I dont feel like an adult!"

    Now time slowed down. That Fall seem to last forever. Then we had six weeks, and three six weeks equaled a semester or ½ a unit toward a diploma. Teaching high school at 22, when your students are 16, 17, and even 18 was so different than teaching chemistry lab to college students at the University.

    I was so green. I made every mistake in the book. Of course, I was also going back to UALR taking six credits in education that Fall, followed by six more in the spring, then the last six in the summer of 1964 plus six credits of practice teaching summer school as required by the state and LR School District. But all these education courses had no relation to really being a teacher in a public school classroom is like. It is Baptism under fire.

    I could control 90% of my students, had their respect, and was somewhat successful. But in every class of 30, there were 2 or 3 rotten apples. I was at Hall not Central. Hall was hoody toddy and the high school for the kids living in the rich neighbor hoods of west Little Rock. Discipline was not equal. It depended on who their parents were. So, the rich delinquents could act up and not be punished. The not so rich would be severely punished. Welcome to public schools and unfair principals.

    In Fall of 1963, a new television series was on NBC, Mister Novak. It was the first of only a few television dramas which dealt with teaching and schools in the 20th century. Freaks and Geeks in the 80s for one year, the five Degrasie series beginning in the 1980s through to the present (Canadian Public Broadcasting Network) and the 2000 six season series Boston Public.

    I learned every week more about teaching through Mr. Novak then all the 18 undergraduate hours in the School of Education at the university. Every day I became a better teacher. I was learning the ropes the hard way, but improving. Now February 1964 comes, my super job at Dow Smith was waiting, I finished the semester in January, and could walk away. I did not. I stayed at a $3600 a year salary, $400 a month for nine month instead of a $12,000 starting salary at Dow.

    If I quit, the rich delinquents would win. My pride would not allow what I personally would feel as a failure or a defeat. I dug in and stayed and I eventually won, the rich delinquents were punished when sent to the office by the fifth six weeks, but the political principal disliked backing me up when the rich kids were sent to him. I just wished he was the ideal principal like Mr. Novak's Principal Vane, played by Dean Jagger.

OK! Two More Years and I get a Free Ride to My Masters!

    My peer teaching friends at Hall, told me that if I did three years of teaching, I could qualify for the NSF Institutes for science and math teachers. A full ride to obtain a Master's Degree including book, tuition, fees, travel expenses, and $75 a week tax free stipend. WOW! It was more than I was making as a teacher ($100 per week before taxes) and I could go to school and not work. I had one year down, just two more and a free ride. So instead of hunting for a chemistry job, I decided to teach two more years.

    In the Spring of 1964, I told Principal Powell I was going back to school in 1964 so I would not continue at Hall or the Little Rock Special School district in 1964-65. This possibly avoided being fired or best case transferred, even maybe to Central. One of the jokes at Hall in 1963, was I there to do my senior year as a student at 22 or was I there to be a teacher.

    I needed a younger set of kids, 13-14-15, a new school, and in a Blue Collar neighborhood. I went across the river to North Little Rock which has a different school district and quickly got a job teaching ninth grade General Science. The pay was a whopping $3772 per year as I was a second year teacher. My new school, Jefferson Davis Junior High with Principal Nations. For two years, he ranked me as one of his three best teachers, a Can Do, Will Do, and Total Respect from the students. He could depend on me 24x7. However, I was still learning as Mr. Novak had a second season in 1964-65. I was fully licensed and now I was and felt like, a teacher.

    When Mr. Nations wrote my NSF recommendation in the Spring of 1966, he thought it was for a summer studies program. Instead it was a two year program and I had to resign. He was very upset losing me and told me he could not hold the job for two years, but no matter what after 2 years he would create a job for me.

    I loved the kids, they were special, each kid was special and it was the greatest two years of my life. I still had to work part-time to make ends meet. But after teaching the low-level science, six times a day for two years was wearing on my mind. I knew I had to move on!

    Graduate school in the Fall of 1966 at the University of Mississippi, with full scholarship began a new era in my life. I finished two years in 11 months, and had a 20 year career in the Air Force waiting as a 1st Lieutenant and three years of boot strap to obtain my PhD in chemistry, but the day after graduation before reporting for OCS I injured or destroyed my knee making me ineligible for the military. I am now 26 and still single.

    It is late August, school then did not start until the day after Labor Day. I had two weeks to get a job. I did get a college chemistry teaching job at Westark Junior College in Fort Smith, Arkansas at $6300 per year. For two more year, I was temporarily teaching looking into jobs I thought I might wanted to do. I felt on the $6300 I could never get marries, never own a home.

    So a girlfriend, Margaret Lavenue, applied to every college is the state of Florida so we could move there in 1969. There was this brand new Community College in Tampa Florida, HCC. They hired me at $8400. When I was resigning from Westark, they offered me $7200 to stay. I was about to since my family and friends were all in Arkansas and I was then an Arkansan. Then I got a letter from HCC in August which said the teacher salaries for 1969-70 would be $9600 instead of $8400. WOW another $100 per month and I had not even started. So I moved to Florida in 1969 and stayed 35 years at HCC. After one year, I had found my permanent home, teaching.

Why Time Speeds Up and Slows Down! And Speeds Up Again!

    Now for the Answer to the basic question of why time speeds up and slows down. All your senses are recording everything you do, feel, smell, touch etc. 24x7. When you are in a new setting, your mind relates to previous similar experiences. But if you have none, then each 24 hours seems longer because it has nothing to compare the new experience. During you first six weeks, one day is one 30th of your total teaching experience. Your fifth year, a new day is one 720th of your previous experience, thus one day at one 30th versus one 720th is so much a longer experience to record in your mind, time seems to speed up by that 5th year.

    Your newlywed year is so much longer than you 5th, 10th, 25th, or 30th or 50th year of marriage. Your first child is in diapers forever, but the second, then the third, is in and out of dippers at the blink of an eye. This is 2017 and I am in my 54th year in education, a long-long time since those first days at Hall. Even though time is speeding by, I love teaching, and I am a teacher. The student is at the center of everything I do. They keep me Young at Heart!

 
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First Teaching Job-Hall High School Family Portrait CBS Radio Mystery Theater Mr. Novak
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Additional Links

About Me HomePage
Resume
My Greatest Honor
Last Major Paper: Proposed Chemistry Project
Samples of My PhotoAlbum
Family Portrait
First Grade Photo & Links to Other Photos in Album Educational Goals
Last FSPD Proposal Submitted-Project MInD (Up Dated for 98-99)
Crisis at Central High School(updated)
Wife Earns 1999 Florida Section MAA Award
     for Distinguished College Teachers of Mathematics

Link to WWWProg student JavaScript applications developed Spring 98
Christmas Family Photos 2000(cropped and reduced)
Fullsize Christmas Photos 2000 (8x10 size) 6 meg download (180 k per picture)
The Grandbaby: Michelle Katherine
Michelle October 2002 Bath Thumbnails
OK-So Now I have Been a Pirate
Gauvaoween Parade 2001
Gauvaoween Parade 2002
What a rush! I didn't fly as high as the others--but ExtremeAir was fun! (Photo Missing)

Hall High 1964 Annual-The Warrior