She's still active, still 'pulling through'

Mary Davidsaver
Betty DeWolfe holds a Nancy Drew book as she talks about her retirement years following a long teaching career in area schools. Mrs. DeWolfe always liked to read to her students after lunch and she usually chose a mystery as the genre.

Betty Carol Switzer DeWolfe turned 85 last May and is determined to lead as active a life as possible.

She stopped teaching full time at age 67, after many years in the Galva school district, where she taught in both a country school and in town.

Her teaching career began in the Williamsfield area when her youngest child was old enough for school. Mrs. DeWolfe was ready to use her education degree from Bradley University and found a position near Galva soon after the end of World War II.

Mrs. DeWolfe thought the old Henry country school house was probably still standing, and fondly recalls having a room full of first and second grade students.

However, she did remember one sunny spring day when having two grades together didn’t work out so well. Her second graders were having problems with an assignment and needed extra help, so she sent her first grade students, about 10 or 12 youngsters, outside to have some air. They were to play beneath an open window so she could keep an eye on them.

“All at once, I looked out the window and they were crying,” she said.

She asked what the matter was and the children responded by wondering why she wouldn’t let them in and thinking that she didn’t love them anymore.

“I had to go outside and give them lots of hugs and kisses,” she said with a warm smile.

Mrs. DeWolfe comes from a family that has a rich tradition in teaching.

“My mom was a teacher, my aunts were teachers, and my cousins were teachers,” she said. “It seems like all my life I had something to do with teaching. When I was in grade school, I was also teaching Sunday school.”

On another occasion, she was reminded of the difficult case of a little boy who had recently lost his father. He was looking for attention and started acting out.

He began crawling to his desk every day. She tried not paying attention, but it got to be too much. So one day, in front of the whole room, she told the young man, “You’ve crawled into the room for the last time. If you do it again, I’ll have to do something you’ll not like.”

Of course he did it again and she was on him in an instant. She hauled him down to the teachers cloak room. In her anger she gave him a good shaking and asked, “What do you think I should do?”

“I-I think you should think-think it over,” came his stammering reply.

For more of this story, see the July 23 Galva News.