Good timing started her 40 year career

Leah Bailey has taught at ORHS for 40 years

Some folks will celebrate National Teachers Day May 9 while others consider May 2 the official date. But every day is a good day to recognize educators.

Listening in on Leah Bailey's French class is a lesson in more than the language.

One recent day her students were studying the French presidential election.

"We are not alone. They need to know that they are global citizens. They need to put together the impact of what happens here on what happens here," she said.

What happens for her is the joy of teaching.

"I might have the occasional bad class. I don't have bad days in all honesty. I don't usually have bad days and every day is different, every day is different," Leah Bailey said. "That is why you stay because it is never the same. You can teach French for 40 years but every day is different."

Her teaching career began at Oak Ridge High School in January 1977.

"I came in the middle of the year. I replaced a teacher who eloped over Christmas break. Right place right time. There aren't very many French positions in all honesty," she said.

Especially one at her alma mater. She once walked the halls of Oak Ridge High School herself.

She said her French teacher and an English teacher inspired her to go into teaching.

"He really attended to us. He really gave us 100% of his attention. And that confidence that he inspired in us I think probably inspired me to do this," she said.

She follows that example to engage her students.

"You really do touch a life but you never know what you have done until later on," she said.

Just recently, a former student invited her over to meet his new son and he was talking to his baby about Leah Bailey.

"She taught me all the French I know and she taught me about the billboard policy. And his father said the billboard policy? And I said Patrick I cannot believe that you remember that. And he said, son, never say anything you don't want grandma to see on a billboard for everyone else to see too. So you never know, you never ever know," she said.

She knows that even after 40 years she's not ready to retire.

"We had a teacher here who taught for 50 years here and I am not going to be that teacher. I am not. I am not going to break it I am not going to even approach it. But yeah, I can see that. But not this year, not next year."

That is welcome news to the students she will have that will one day thank her for teaching them more than French.
 

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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