Rossville Middle's Juanita Foster celebrates 59th year of teaching
The first day of school is still exciting for Juanita Foster, and she should be used to it by now. This is her 59th opening day as a Walker County teacher. She'll be 82 later this year, but evidently the classroom is her fountain of youth. "I believe in staying active, that's what keeps me going," she said. "Plus, of course, I love kids."
Students at Rossville Middle School are surprised to learn that Mrs. Foster started teaching before their grandparents were born. She's not old-fashioned. She believes in keeping up with the times and the technology. "I have an iPhone, an iPad, a computer. I'm not afraid of those things," she said.
Mrs. Foster has been at Rossville Middle since 1982, and her colleagues say she stands as a living monument to the love of teaching. No matter what problems they encounter, their senior teacher has been there, and done that. She welcomes each new teacher. Speech pathologist Sharon Daniels said, "When you come into a new school, you count on someone like her to make you feel comfortable. She's our rock, our anchor."
Mrs. Foster loves teaching her students about new words they've never encountered, but admits that one word is absent from her own vocabulary. The word, "retirement" has yet to be spoken, and as far as she's concerned, there's no reason to use it. Besides, she still enjoys greeting former students who tell her, "You were my teacher!" She said, "I love hearing that. And many of my former students have done very well. I'm proud of that, it makes me feel like I've made an impact."
Although she's officially worked part-time as an exceptional education teacher in recent years, she admits to coming in early, and staying late. It's no wonder she was Walker County Teacher of the Year....in 1985, about halfway through her amazing career, spanning 59 years. So far.