They haven’t always been teachers!

When people look at teachers, they don’t necessarily consider their previous life of spontaneity and adventure. We see someone who has taught English, or quadratic equations for all of eternity. But in actuality they are like Indiana Jones leading a double life with both education and adventure.

Mrs. Denmark used to opeate large machinery? What? In her teenage years, Denmark worked for a GM parts distribution plant. Her first summer there, she worked as the “picker” she would pick small car parts that were too small for the forklift to pick up. However, the next year she didn’t stay in this position. She was promoted. She was assigned to the important position of the forklift driver. Which required her to take a several-day training course in order to get her license. Though driving seemed easy in actuality, it was a rather difficult task.

Denmark stated, “But, I was terrified that if I made a mistake, you know, it would be like the domino effect that the whole plant would just be like ….” But she was successful in her forklift efforts and learned important skills that she still uses. Denmark also said, “I did like it. And I will say a couple of things that I have taken with me is that I am confident when I’m driving a car that I can make it through, you know, a space.”

Teaching, writing, and Taekwondo, oh my!

For a while, Dr. Kmieciak was extremely busy. She was in the middle of writing her dissertation, teaching English at Bolles, and teaching Taekwondo. Dr. Kmieciak already had her black belt and was training to get her second degree. In order to train at the studio, she made a deal with the owner. “I’ve got my black belt. And the reason I did it was I made a deal with the guy that if I taught the classes, then I can train for my second-degree black belt free, basically.” Dr. Kmieciak talked about how teaching has been instilled in her because she has two sisters and how Taekwondo affirmed her passion. Though she wasn’t able to get her second degree, Dr. Kmieciak learned valuable disciplines that helped her in teaching the future. “How the stretching and flexibility and the discipline of doing Taekwondo also helped me when I was writing my dissertation.”

Mrs. Reinschmidt wasn’t always positive she wanted to be a math teacher. In order to decide if teaching was the right fit for her, she took a break and pursued another position. A friend told her that they were hiring air traffic controllers with a math degree, and they thought she would be a natural fit. Reinschmidt took the test and did well, and after, she headed to the aeronautical traffic control center in Oklahoma City. The job wasn’t easy, though. She stated, “And so there were 108 people in my class, and only four girls And two of the girls quit after a month. And only about 25 people passed.” After a year of hard work and dedication, she decided that teaching math was her preferred occupation, and she has been ever since.

Before Mrs. Robinson was a teacher, she pursued the military. Partially because she wanted to do something patriotic and partially because most of her family were in the military. She trained in the ROTC program at Penn State, which was quite rigorous. After the completion of her training, she decided to join the reserves and became an officer. With her position of power in the reserves, some men were less accepting of her authoritative role. Robinson commented, “I have a few interesting, I guess, what I call it, discussions with some of the male officers and things like that, you know, just concerning whether or not women should be in the military at all, and all that, you know, it was interesting.” Through the reserves, she was able to travel to Germany and San Francisco, and after six years, she decided to leave and start a family. Now her son has followed in her footsteps and joined the Reserves.