Spotlight on the Classroom: Still teaching ‘friends and neighbors’

10:00 am | February 8, 2013

Some people might become burnt out after working the same job for 47 years.

Photo by Brandon HicksAfter 47 years teaching in Roan Mountain, Jancy Caldwell is now teaching the grandchildren of her first students.

Photo by Brandon Hicks
After 47 years teaching in Roan Mountain, Jancy Caldwell is now teaching the grandchildren of her first students.

Not Jancy Caldwell.

For her, teaching Roan Mountain’s children doesn’t feel like a job. It feels like helping family.

“The students I’m teaching now are the grandchildren of the students I first taught,” Caldwell said. “I’ve taught practically everybody in Roan Mountain.”

Originally from Daytona Beach, Fla., Caldwell moved to Roan Mountain after meeting her husband, Julian, at East Tennessee State University in 1966, where she studied art. Julian, a third-generation teacher, wanted to carry on his family’s tradition of teaching in Roan Mountain, so Caldwell followed him.

“In order to live comfortably in a marriage, it would take two to teach,” Caldwell said. “I never thought I’d teach, but I loved it.”

Caldwell began her career teaching first, second, and third grade at a three-room school in Buck Mountain. Because the Carter County school system did not have an art program, however, she returned to ETSU and earned a degree in library media. Afterward, she accepted the position of librarian at Cloudland High School.

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