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Veteran Teachers Tell Why They Like Jobs

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EXPLAINS MATH PROBLEM: Miss Hazel Rich (right), a mathematics teacher at Tappan Junior High School, explains an algebra problem to Kit Markham, a ninth grader at the school. Miss Rich has taught here for 32 years.

READING CLASS: First graders in Mrs. Lillian McClure’s class at Burns Park School read a story with her help.  Mrs. McClure has taught for 40 years in the Ann Arbor Schools.

Veteran Teachers Tell Why They Like Jobs

(Editor’s note: The following article has been written about three of Ann Arbor’s veteran teachers in connection with the observance of Teacher Career Month now going on).

By Carol Otto

People often wonder why teachers—who must deal with 25 to 30 rambunctious children —like their jobs.

Contact with students, watching them grow and develop both mentally and physically, are foremost among reasons why three teachers who have been in the Ann Arbor Public School System for a total of 116 years, especially enjoy their careers .

Mrs. Lillian McClure, who has taught for 40 years, says this about her career: “I think it’s fine, I’d recommend it to anybody.”

Robert Granville, a teacher at Ann Arbor High School for 44 years, and Miss Hazel Rich, who has taught in the system for 32 years, share Mrs. McClure’s feeling.

Each of them prefers their own grade levels, however.

Mrs. McClure, who was born in Manchester, went to Ypsilanti Normal College and then to the University.

She first taught at Perry School, then at the old Donovan School, went on to Bach, and then to Burns Park.

Finds Them ‘Fascinating’

“Early elementary children are fascinating,” she says. “They are so natural, and have such vivid imaginations,” she continued.

A collection of papers done by children, some of them now grown and married, holds pleasant memories for Mrs. McClure. She didn’t save them through her entire teaching career, and now regrets not having done so.

“These children make life worth living,” she says. “Being with them daily keeps me younger.”

“It’s wonderful to see the growth the children make from the time they enter until they leave in June. They come in as babies and go out acting so much older.” In addition to the rudiments of learning, social contacts help produce growth, she feels.

Summing up, Mrs. McClure said about her career, “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Miss Hazel Rich, a mathematics teacher at Tappan, says that one reason she likes teaching so much is that no two days are the same, and no two classes are the same.

A native Ann Arborite, Miss Rich was channeled into a teaching career by her father, who taught physics at the University, and a sister, who is also a math teacher.

Her teaching career began at Mack School when it housed both elementary and junior high grades. She later taught at the old Tappan Junior High, and moved into the new building after it was constructed. She holds a master’s degree from the U-M.

Teaching the students to think logically is strongly emphasized by Miss Rich. She tries to make the classes interesting, and offers help to anyone who asks for it—both students who are slow in their work, and those who are advanced.

She feels that the children at the junior high level are spontaneous in their actions. She noted the changes in the students from the time they enter junior high until they leave. “They come in as youngsters and go out grown up,” she says.

“I admire them for being able to do things that I can’t do,” she added.

Granville, who was born in Saginaw, has been teaching English here since 1914. He especially enjoys teaching English literature,. He was graduated from the University where he majored in English and minored in history. He also has a master’s degree.

Heads English Department

As supervisor of the English department at Ann Arbor High, much of Granville’s time is spent in an administrative capacity. Among his classroom duties is teaching advanced placement English classes. He also helps select students who may take the classes.

At one time Granville turned down an offer to teach freshman English at the college level, because he prefers teaching high school students.

His “extracurricular” activities include membership in the Exchange Club, of which he has been secretary-treasurer for the past 10 years. He is secretary of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. He also is a member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

“I don’t know what we’d do without him,” another teacher in the department said about Granville.

[image]:  Robert Granville prefers teaching at the high school level.