Retired Jefferson County Teachers

= Audio Available Online
Mrs. Morrison had a 25-year career in public education. She worked solely for Jefferson County, Kentucky school system. Mrs. Morrison spent 15 years in the classroom, five years as an instructional coordinator, and five years as a staff development specialist. She started teaching in 1961, twenty years after high school, after her children were in older. She taught chemistry and physics in Fern Creek High School. Morrison admits to "classroom burnout" and she was pleased to have a different position to move on to in 1975. She took a job as an instructional cooridnator and worked at Male High School, Central High School, and the Brown School. This position was part of a federally-funded program called the Emergency School Assistance Act. Her role was to work with students and teachers in a human relations capacity. Morrison recalls the challenges presented because of court-ordered busing and mergers of the city and and county school systems. For the latter 5 years of her career she worked in an administrative position as a staff development specialist; this position involved staff training in workshop and in-service settings.
Esther Nochlin's teaching career spanned twenty-six years in the Louisville city/county school system. Mrs. Nochlin taught English at Booker T. Washington, Steven Foster, Warner, and Highland schools. She stresses that she always taught in inner city schools and that she liked that assignment. When asked about court-ordered busing and school system merger she stated little of no impact on her role as a teacher. She talks about the changing attitudes and lack of support from the home; she states that by the mid-1970s parents stopped backing teachers and she felt that teachers were losing authority. She discusses the various prinicpals she worked with, and offers her opinions of them. She speaks in favor of academic tracking, to help students get the help they need.
Mrs. Parker retired in May 1991 after twenty-seven years in public education. She was hired to teach in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1964, following college. She taught high school English and psychology for one year. She then moved to Jefferson County, where she taught junior high math for two years. Over the next twenty-four years she became a school counselor, and served at Stuart, Moore, Frost, Knight, and Highland schools. She talks about the changes she saw over her career. She speaks at length about the problems the schools had during the years following court-ordered busing and the merger of the city and county schools. She didn't feel prepared for the chaos and hostility and she spent much of her time resolving conflicts with students, teachers and parents. She also describes the change from junior high schools to middle schools, which gave the 6-8 grades an identity separate from the high schools, and promoted unity in the staff. She speaks of greater teacher involvement with all students, healthier holistic approaches, and identification of home problems in the new middle schools. In the last ten years of her career, Parker notes social phenomena and issues including "latchkey" children, single parent homes, dysfunctional families, and sex and drug abuse, which the schools were identifying. She saw her job change from administrator to facilitator between student, parent, teacher, and communtiy resource, a change she welcomed. Her greatest sense of accomplishment was working with "at risk" students.
Mrs. Barbara Sutherland started teaching in the Louisville city/county school system in 1964. Her teaching certificate enabled her to teach elementary school and middle school. Her subject area was language arts. Mrs. Sutherland taught first through fourth grades in Abraham Lincoln, Wellington, and Norton Elementary schools. The latter fifteen years of her career she taught grades 6 and 7 at Kammerer Middle School. During the 1970s Mrs. Sutherland felt that the changes in the schools brought on by court ordered desegregation and the city/county merger were handled poorly. She is critical of the systems implemented by the school system to solve school climate and discipline problems. Sutherland did not like the new programs of the 1970s and willingly transferred to a school nearer her home. She felt that she was forced to teach the "regular" students, primarily black students, and complains that they are not being prepared with life skills. In her classroom, Sutherland tried to have talk sessions with her students about their problems and concerns. She holds that no one is listening to those students and that they are falling through the cracks. She expresses a sense that integration let black studetns fall behind.