CLEARFIELD—As a first-grade student at Hill Field Elementary 30 years ago, Edee Gathercole loved the energy and enthusiasm of her teacher so much she decided to be a teacher herself someday.
Now she is making that dream come true and as a teacher in training, she is once again impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the teacher who is mentoring her.
Which isn’t all that surprising. Her teacher then and her teacher now are the same person.
It came as a surprise to both when Gathercole was assigned to have her field experience in the classroom of Kathleen Dickinson.
This is Dickinson’s 30th year teaching and it is her last, so it is more than meaningful that a student she taught during her first year is with her again – and all because of her example.
“I could tell she really loved to teach,” said Gathercole. “Everybody in class knew what they were doing and understood the material. She made it fun.”
“Every day, in everything she does, there is energy and enthusiasm,” she added. “I’ve been sure since first grade that I wanted to be a teacher like her.”
Gathercole has been busy with marriage and mothering over the years, so finishing the degree has taken extra time.
She is now working on two degrees – one in early childhood education and another in elementary education – so that she can teach children from pre-school to sixth grade.
Though she could likely qualify for one of the alternative routes to licensure now offered in the state, having a degree is important to her.
“I want to know what I’m doing,” she said. “When I step into the classroom I have little kids’ lives in my hands. I don’t want to wing it – I want to know what I’m doing and what I’m teaching.”
Because she has worked in different capacities in the schools for the past six years, being in the classroom as a teacher is a new role, but not a new environment, she said.
Already, she has taught a couple math classes and art lessons, and helped with reading and story time. And she loves it.
And as was the case 30 years ago, her teacher is complimentary and supportive of her efforts.
“I remember Edee like it was yesterday,” said Dickinson.
She didn’t recognize the married name of the Weber State student she would be working with, but when she saw her maiden name, it clicked.
“It made me happy because teaching is not an easy field,” she said. “You don’t get paid well. It’s rewarding in an altruistic way but it’s a hard field to go into. I’m happy she has chosen to be a teacher because it needs people who love it.
“She loves kids and I knew that,” said Dickinson. “She’s doing a really good job. The kids love her. She’s a natural. She gets right in there, right down to their level. They’re really comfortable with her.”