Mary Whittlesey graduated from Deweyville I.S.D in 1959 and from Stephen F. Austin in 1962 where she received a Master’s degree. She has been teaching English in San Augustine for fifty years and has been cheerleader sponsor for forty-five years as well as U.I.L. Director. We asked Mrs. Whittlesey about her experiences at SAISD. Read below to see what she has to say!
What activities were you involved in as a student?
While in high school, I participated in drama club, peer tutoring assistant, athletics, student council, National Honor Society and office assistant. While in college, I worked as a grader for the English and History Departments.
What are some of your favorite books?
My favorite author is Robert Frost, the poet. I have many books that are my favorite, but two are “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Night.”
When did you know that you wanted to be a teacher?
From the age of eleven, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. I was inspired by my high school English teacher to become an English teacher. A student recently asked me, “What would you have done, if you had not chosen to teach?” I believe I would have been a missionary, however, I do believe teaching is a mission field.
If you could tell every student one thing that would stay with them for the rest of their lives, what would it be?
My teaching philosophy is “love your students, be fair, strict, consistent with expectations, and have the same rules for all students.” I would tell students to always follow God and He would lead them down the right path.
Can you tell us about some of the struggles you’ve faced as a teacher over the years?
On April 7, 2018, my husband suffered a very serious stroke, and I did not know if I would be able to return to school. I asked God that if it was still my mission to teach school that he would find just the right person to sit with him during the day. He immediately answered my prayer, and here I am in my fifty-sixth year of teaching.
What do you want people to know about you?
Teaching is my passion. I have been happy and successful because I believe that teaching is a calling from God. I love my students and I want them to become all that they are capable of becoming. One of my greatest joys comes from being friends with some of my former students who have become teachers. It is a joy to teach next door to my awesome former student- Jesica Herrera.
Article conducted by SAHS senior Isabella Tuite.