Can you tell us about yourself?
"Good morning. My name is Cindy Bailey. I am a library media specialist at Lyconia High School in Rosendale, Wisconsin. Um, and I have been here at this school district for 25 years. I was a high school science teacher for 11 years and then I became a K through eight library media specialist, uh, where I taught kindergarten through third grade library skills, um, and uh, sixth through eighth grade computer science and technology skills. And then three years ago I returned back to Laconia as the high school library media specialist. Um, and now I co-teach a computer science class with a math teacher here. Um, and I also do a lot of technology integration into all of the other classrooms in addition to maintaining the library and providing research services for students."
Why did you start a career in education?
"Why did I start becoming a teacher? Uh, well when I was in college, um, I actually started premed so I took a lot of science classes. Um, and when I, ironically, when I decided that I could no longer, uh, be in school cause I was tired of being in school, um, those science classes added up to a degree in biology, natural science, um, and a few credits later also a health degree. Um, and those things led me to teaching, which I'm glad they did initially. That wasn't my first choice, but, um, I'm very happy and obviously 25 years later I'm still here."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"If I could have any other career, um, well I've always said even though I wanted to get out of school, uh, at some point in time in my mid twenties, um, I've, I've, I miss going to school, I miss learning. And so not that I don't learn. Um, but I learn life skills and I want to learn more content knowledge. Um, and so my ideal career would be if someone would pay me to go to school full time, I'd be happy to do that. And I think it would be so rewarding."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"How are kids different than 30 years ago? I don't think they really are. Um, I've taught at all different levels, K through 12. You know, kids are kids. Um, I love being back at the high school. Uh, elementary was a tough few years for me, 11 years to be exact. Um, but I can relate to high school kids and I feel like I can develop a relationship with them that's more on a friendship basis. Uh, whereas when I was K eight, I really had to be a parent and I didn't like that as my role in education. Um, kids are kids, you know, they, they have their challenges. Um, they also have their great times. Uh, and I get to see that every day."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"How is teaching different? Well, uh, 25 years ago when I started, I had a computer at home. Um, but I also had a typewriter. I used a mimeograph machine when I first came for a very short period of time. So purple carbon, um, on me. Um, and I loved my chalkboard. I honestly hate not having a chalkboard. Uh, when, uh, data projectors became a thing and whiteboards became a thing, uh, my district really wanted me to remove my, I had a whole wall chalkboard, which was amazing. Um, and I fought it and up until the time I left, I still had a chalkboard, uh, when I left the high school. Then shortly thereafter, the new teacher that replaced me, uh, ended up with a, um, smart board, not a smart board a whiteboard and then a data projector was soon to follow. Um, but that is probably the biggest change that I've seen in technology. Um, as well as, you know, history repeats itself. Uh, when I first started I was teaching, uh, with a couple of older gentlemen who had been here for a long time and there was some school initiatives that, uh, they wanted us to work on during their common planning time. And I struggled with getting the two other teachers that I worked with to do those things. And, and their comment I remember clearly was, it doesn't matter, it's going to go away and something new will take its place. Um, and they're right. So, um, yeah, we have a lot of school initiatives that, you know, had steam for a couple of years, uh, and then move on and, and then recently late. So, you know, some of those standards based things that I was doing at the beginning are rearing their heads again and uh, in maybe a new title. Um, but the same concept. So education while it changes and we, you know, improve it, it certainly does tend to resort back to the practices that work."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"If I could tell someone something about becoming a teacher, um, well to be cliche, you don't do it for the money cause it's not there. Um, and I worry about new teachers as they come in. Uh, because of the, uh, change in our climate in this country. Um, you know, our unions are not as strong as they used to be. And unfortunately new teachers don't know what we've lost, especially in the state of Wisconsin. Uh, as far as, um, our union benefits and privileges. Um, and I think if I were to talk to new teachers, I would let them know that, um, being not necessarily unionized. Um, but being a strong voice for themselves is important. Um, and the work that they do is important and they need to, uh, shout that from the rooftops as often as they can, uh, to help people not in education realize how challenging yet rewarding education can be."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"What is one thing I would change to help kids learn better? But that was it. Um, so certainly, uh, again, being in education for 25 years, I have seen some dramatic changes due to budgetary constrictions in school districts. And one of the things that I think has hurt our children the most, uh, is the increase in class sizes. And so if I were to change anything about education, I would make sure that every class everywhere had somewhere between 15 and 20 students per teacher, not per teaching assistant. Um, not her, you know, uh, after-school activity. Uh, but actually her classroom, no more than 15 to 20 students. And that would make a world of difference for our students, in my opinion. Thanks."