TAMPA, Fla. — Barbara Walker’s family never thought they’d see the day where she retired. You see, Walker has put together quite a teaching career since she started in Georgia in 1966.
“They thought they would have to take me out on a stretcher I guess. Die at the chalkboard," Walker said.
To put the length of her amazing career in perspective: she's taught through parts of 11 presidencies, five Popes, saw man walk on the moon, computers shrink to the size of a mobile phone, and started her career before Disney World first opened in Orlando.
It's been an amazing journey for her and her students, but Barbara, who’s taught English literature at Blake High School since 1997, said other than their cell phone addictions; students are pretty much the same.
“I hate to tell you after 52 years I haven’t seen lots of changes. But they still have the same complaints," Walker said. "'I don’t know if I can get this in on time Ms. Walker. I don’t understand Hamlet. Do we have to read this book?'”
After all these years, the last couple have been unlike any other as the world dealt with COVID.
“Teachers deserve every bit of love and respect that one can give them because it was extraordinarily difficult,” Barbara said.
Walker said she’s made it all these years by having a good sense of humor, keeping students entertained, and having patience. She plans to still tutor students and maybe write her own book. But she said 52 years of doing what she loved will be hard to top.
“There is nothing more exciting than being a teacher in the classroom,” Walker said.