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One-On-One with Jane Austin

<br><span style="font-family: Arial; font-size: 10pt;">It's Teacher Appreciation Week...A time when we thank the educators who make a difference in our lives. I sat down with one of my former elementary school teachers who helped shape my career<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></span>

Jane Austin's teaching career started in Kalamazoo Michigan in 1957 making what she calls "big bucks" with a salary of 39-hundred dollars a year. In Rockford, she started teaching English at Wilson then later became a music teacher at Alpine School...a small elementary school that used to sit at the corner of State and Alpine.

 

 "It was a neighborhood school so that all the students who were there, you included, knew everybody else who was there. Parents knew each other. There were friendships at all levels and it was kind of like teaching in your own family."

I asked, "How does it make you feel when former students like me come back and tell you, "You made such an impact on my life?" She says, Oh, it's a thrill! I love that. It's what makes me keep going I think."

 

 Austin retired from the Rockford School District in 2000 and went on to take a position at Rockford Lutheran as Curriculum Consultant.  She says she's often asked how things have changed in the classroom over the years

 

 "Since I've been in the profession for over 50 years they want me to say that kids are really different today. They are in that they have different experiences and different interests. Perhaps, maybe attention span is a little shorter.

 

While teachers face many challenges, Austin says she's glad she chose this profession.

 

"I don't know of a job that gives you more satisfaction than teaching. It's a perfect job for me and you can see they can't make me leave" (laughs)

 

 

 

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