Dr. Sid T. Womack's ATU Home Page______________
Office: Crabaugh 211
Summer 1 2015 office hours:
9 - 11 Mondays through Friday. I am typically in the office much more than these official office hours. Most days, drop-in visits are acceptable.
On about August 1986, a young-looking dean of the School of Education welcomed me to Crabaugh 211. "Welcome to your new home," he said. His words were prophetic. In 29 years, I never made an office change. That office saw me in my worst and most feeble of times, in everyday work, and at my best moments. It saw me in the 1990s when I fought a personal battle with a glucose intolerance, a terrible illness that for too many people became a precursor to diabetes. It saw me make tenure after five years, associate professor after six, and full professor after 17. The dean's welcome turned out to be an invitation to a full and compelling career.
In healthy teaching/learning environments, the experience of college teaching is a partnership between faculty and administrators. This was mostly what I experienced. And I loved the everyday association with students. I was in teacher education for 34 of my 43 years in education. Watching college students mature into classroom teachers is a fascinating process. You have to have been there to know what that means. In some ways, it's almost like raising children. You love to see them succeed and feel inward pain when any of them fail. As a more experienced educator, you don't want to see anything negative happen to any of them. Not even one of them.
When I neared retirement three years ago, I wondered if I would miss The Office. But only today (March 13, 2018) did missing it even occur to me the first time. I was one of those few and fortunate people whose career lasted exactly long enough. My fire for teaching did not go out until I moved out of the office. But I also didn't leave too early. I got exactly enough of my career, and no more. I've seen people hang on to their jobs and their offices and the careers after the fire has gone out, and it wasn't pretty. Some leave too soon and find themselves getting back into the work force within a year. I suffered neither.
Some of the times when I did the most good were the times when I didn't realize that anyone was even watching. In the early 2000s, I was asked by a student organization to make a presentation on school law at a local restaurant one night. Dutifully I arrived an hour early and began unpacking my laptop and a portable projector. Presently everything was cabled up and should have been working. The computer and projector would not talk to each other. I began troubleshooting as more and more elementary education majors filed in. Still no pictures on the screen. I re-booted and re-cabled, re-booted and re-cabled, all to no avail. With five minutes left to go before I was supposed to begin, a colleague showed up and gave me a one-sentence piece of advice that made the computer send images to the projector.
I went through the presentation--school law was one of my fortes--and started packing up my equipment. This was when several of the young ladies came over to comment on what they had seen.
"We learned from the law part--but we expected to do that, from what we had been told about you. What we learned new, tonight, from watching you for 55 minutes before the presentation began, was how to deal with 55 minutes of nothing but failure. How does a professional do that? How does a Christian do that? What we learned tonight that will last us forever are the answers to those two questions, not the school law part!"
Yes! Wow! Did I make a difference? Yes. In the ways I had planned? No. No. Not at all. But sometimes the feedback comes in ways we never planned on.
This is the kind of experience that makes teaching at any grade level the joy that it is.
I'm enjoying a very active retirement. I have more hobbies than I can name or regularly get around to. Add to that the technological nudges and prods induced by life in the 21st century--and it's a busy, fulfilling, happy life. Today I am giving of myself mainly through the Dover church of Christ. I enjoy hobbies such as gardening, archery, ham radio, and hunting. In the first half of 2017, I attained the technicians, general, and amateur extra licenses for ham radio. Now I am itching for spring to get here so I can set out the plants that I have started in my greenhouse. I love to see things grow.
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