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Eileen's Story

Eileen discusses gender roles present in her childhood in the 1950s and how it caused her to choose her career in teaching. She then goes on to talk about how she was able to be successful in her career choice.

Eileen's Story
00:00 / 04:20

“How did you originally decide you want to do teaching as a career?”

You know I’m not sure how I decided that I kind of wonder if, well I think I can be fairly relational, I mean I really like kids. But um I’m not sure I saw a lot of choices. I'm not sure I realized that there were all these kinds of things like be an engineer, or be an architect, or a doctor, or a therapist, or be a researcher. I think if I, I have no clue if I saw all of that what I would've chosen. I think I really felt that I had two choices, I could be a nurse or I could be a teacher. So I don't really know what I would choose to do, I mean I could've been a good motorcycle mechanic also I kind of like that stuff. But at the time I think I felt I had two choices, and I wasn’t really into the whole blood thing.

“Do you regret that in a sense, do you feel like it was because of the time period you grew up in and how women were viewed? That you only really saw those two careers as an option”

Do I Regret it…I don't think I have regrets about my teaching. You know I learned a lot all the time, you know as much about myself as about anything else. And I mean I could keep learning, it's endless. So um I don't really have regrets about that. I do imagine I probably wouldn't have done this, you know if I knew then what I know now. But I don't know what I would've done. You know in my world, I mean, there wasn't a mom of anybody that I knew that did anything. I mean I didn’t even know teachers or social workers. I mean I got put in a school with some really good teachers and I got placed there with two or three of my very close friends. And so It was kind of a hoot.

It was hard, we were an inner-city school and the kids were tough. I don't know if they were really tough but they were tough for us, like fifth or sixth graders. But I was not alone, and I had this team of teachers, I worked with three teachers, not one. And they were really helpful. And I had my friends there and you know we would literally go to someone's apartment and figure out our week's lessons and kind of do all this stuff and do it together. You know, have some beers and you know just plan it and go down the tubes in terms of being successful and not being successful. I think I worked with some talented people. I think I was pretty average. Some of my friends were remarkably fantastic. And I learned alot from them. And that's kind of how I taught. I always met with other people and friends. You know that kind of hung out together and figured shit out together. Well, that was nice not to do it alone. I was lucky I had very good people. I just fell on really wonderful friends and support, that's the positive thing about teaching, you know you could get really lucky. I suppose you could get really unlucky too. But I got really lucky, you know I worked with great people.

I think that's key in life. Who you work with is really, really important. You gotta have people you admire around you, or at least I did, or else it’s kind of doomed. And on the one hand, I didn’t feel like I had all that much choice. I just kind of went down this path, and with going down that path, I at least had a path. You know and I just took it and I didn’t really at the time, well I flailed here and there but I didn’t really question it and I was okay with it and it worked out.

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