Blogs For the Brave-The Road To Teaching
My name is Cathy Gilbreath. I am a semi-retired math teacher from Paducah, Texas. I graduated from WTAMU. I am certified in Special Education and Mathematics.
I grew up in a multiple divorce family where moving around was the norm. I have lived in Paducah, Carlsbad New Mexico, Paris Texas, Tulia Texas, Tucumcari New Mexico, Canyon Texas, Dumas Texas and Roanoke Texas. I got married when I was 16 and dropped out of high school. I got my GED and became a housewife and mother of 1. I have cleaned houses, hoed cotton, tromped cotton, and driven a tractor. When my son was in the 3rd grade, I got a job at the school as a janitor. After 2 years of that, I was hired as a Special Education teaching aide. That job was one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever done. During that time, I taught the LD kids and then taught life skills to the most severe. I also drove a bus, kept stats, clocks, and books at all sporting events and monitored computer classes online after school. During those years as janitor and Aide, I took night classes 30 miles away at night. Usually 1 class a semester paid for literally with lots of quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies that I had been able to save. I finished 2 hours short of my associate’s degree. At that time, my superintendent, friend and mentor told me to finish my degree and he guaranteed me a job if I finished within 2 years before he retired. I finished in 1½ years and graduated Magna Cum Laude. I started teaching when my son was a junior in college. I have taught 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade math. I have also taught Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus and Calculus. I taught the high school classes using Distance Learning to Valley High School. My classroom looked like it was from the future. It worked great because I had a great aide in my room in Valley and great Administrative support from both schools. I have also tutored College Algebra, Business Calculus and College Trigonometry.
After my divorce, my students were at times the only ones who helped me hold on to my sanity. Yet, I faltered many times. I moved to Roanoke, Texas and taught at Northwest High School for 3 years. I was honored to be named Teacher of the Year at my school the 2nd year I was there. You talk about a culture shock!!! From a 6-man school to a large 5A school, from rural country to city. Yet, I loved it there. I then returned home.
The year I returned home, my mother passed away the first week of school. Then 2 weeks later I was airlifted to Lubbock with a rare bladder disease. That was 2011. Again, the support from the admin, teachers, parents, and students was phenomenal. In 2012, I had cataract surgery, breast cancer and a car accident that should have killed me. My back and neck were broken and it completely scalped me. I give my recovery to God, the volunteer fire department, the small town EMS, the small hospital and staff in Childress and then to Lubbock UMC and Lubbock Trustpoint Rehab Hospital and all their staff. My neurosurgeon, Dr. Jason Felton, (who is amazing) operated on me for 13 hours. This happened on November 12th and I was home on February 12th, thanks to my cousin coming home with me for 2 weeks and ongoing rehab at home. I am telling you all of this because I feel that it is so important for people to know that you can not make it in this world without others. My friends and family took me to doctors appointments, surgeries and rehab. They took care of my life while I was hospitalized. They came to see me, called me, raised money for me and brought me food. I was blessed.
I taught for 2 more years and retired. That only lasted 1 semester. Quanah, Texas needed a half-day math teacher starting in January. The following year, I started teaching half-days at Paducah. I did that for 2 years. I did not work for a year and a half. Now, I find myself going back to work at Paducah for a half-day for the rest of this year.
If you are a seasoned teacher, you understand all this. When your kids need you, you go. For all you new teachers that are exhausted and wondering why you are doing this, you will understand! Hang in there! The rewards are greater than the fatigue and pay! I am so proud of my kids. I have taught the smartest of the smartest and the ones who struggle to learn and question everything you say. I am so proud of my students. I have civil engineers, mechanical engineers, many teachers and kids who hold down jobs and support their families. I still have ex-students that call to ask for help and to tell me of their successes and their failures. I am proud of every one of my kids. I have been blessed to have taught 3 generations of students. I would like to think that I have had a successful career because I cared. I cared about their behavior, their activities, their ups and their downs. I believe that classroom management, fairness, understanding, caring, consistency, structure and a passion for your job will win the kids over every time. I believe that you have to be firm but compassionate. I believe that if you make your subject matter relative to their lives, it will become important to them. I also believe that without God in my life, none of these successes would be possible.
Because of the above, I want to bring your attention to a website/Facebook page. It is called Discounts for the Brave, website that brings you Blogs For the Brave.
This site has been designed by one of my ex-students, Bryce Jones. He is a paramedic/firefighter in San Angelo, Texas. This young man has a giving heart. He is trying to make people aware of the discounts that are out there at many businesses for First Responders, Teachers, Nurses and Military as well as the Blogs For the Brave series which brings up important topics from all of these occupations for discussion.
Right now the businesses on this site are in San Angelo. He is currently working on including businesses in Midland, Abilene and Lubbock. Many businesses offer these discounts and we are not aware of them. Don’t be afraid to ask. I even asked at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee and got in free. Once you are aware of a business that gives discounts to these groups, please let Bryce know by calling 325-261-3659.
As you know, teachers use much of their own money and/or rely on donations for supplies. I cannot tell you how many pencils, notebooks, markers, etc. that I have bought. That does not even include subject matter classroom décor, Kleenexes or clothes for needy students. We all depend so much on the generosity of others. These businesses offer so much and we are so unaware unless we ask. I think having a list to look at and check is a great idea.
Bryce has given countless hours of his time to contacting businesses, compiling lists, and building his website and Facebook page. Not only does he have a full-time job, but is also a husband and father. Discounts For the Brave and Blogs For the Brave are a testament to his love for and generosity to others. As his ex-teacher, the pride and appreciation I feel for this young man and his unselfishness goes beyond words.
Please feel free to respond to my blog or contact Bryce if you have any questions. Your input is greatly appreciated as this site is just getting off the ground.
Blogs For the Brave is a blog series for first responders, military personnel, teachers and nurses. It is brought to you by Discounts For the Brave. Our contributors are the men and women that are in the trenches with you. We discuss equipment, tactics, technologies and many other topics pertinent to our fields. Thanks for reading and we hop that you will join the Discounts For the Brave community by following our other pages!
Thanks for checking out out the Blogs For the Brave series and we hope you will ready our upcoming articles!