Mom was vital to understanding work -- Mary Foote

May 12, 2019

My mother started teaching in rural schools when she was 17 and retired at 65. Then she worked as a substitute teacher until she was in her 70s.

Mother always put her student’s welfare first and was invested in their lives while they were in her classroom, and for the rest of their lives. Her students were always welcomed in her life, and everywhere in the small community former students greeted her.

She cultivated an unlimited extended family. Many former grade school students attended her 90th birthday party -- sadly, her last.

My mother was not financially rewarded for her teaching, but she was noble about her profession and, having grown up in the Depression, always appreciated her salary. She sometimes needed a second job because both of her children were expected to receive an advanced education. When she received her retirement pension, she also depended on Social Security and Medicare benefits.

We are a long way from the days when rural school teachers were entrusted with the development of young minds. I’m just glad that her work was intrinsically rewarding, and she made a difference.

Mary Foote, Madison