Oklahoma Teacher Begins 51st Year In The Classroom

Mrs. Clinton began teaching in 1972 for only $6,000 a year. "I love teaching and I want to do it as long as I feel like I can make a difference in a child's life," she said.

Saturday, August 19th 2023, 7:20 pm

By: Matt Rahn


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Teachers across the state are returning to the classroom this month, but one teacher is returning for the 51st time.

Patsy Clinton, an English teacher in Kansas, Oklahoma, has been shaping the lives of students for more than five decades.

This school year, Mrs. Clinton is getting straight to business, teaching her middle schoolers English and grammar.

It's her seventh year at Kansas Public Schools, but she's been in the classroom since 1972.

"The first year I taught I made $6,000 a year, and think about that, you're shaping these young people's minds for $500 a month," said Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton says it's not about the money though, it's about inspiring the next generation.

"It's so warming to see a child that you've had in class succeed in something," Clinton said.

Mrs. Clinton says when you've been teaching this long, you get to watch some of your former students grow into their careers, and some of them might be working alongside you.

Linnea Williams works just down the street at Kansas Elementary and was in Mrs. Clinton's first Kindergarten class 51 years ago.

"She made us all when we had birthdays that year, birthday crowns, with five candles, with sparkling candles made of glitter, I still have mine," says fourth-grade teacher Linnea Williams.

She says the impact she's had on students' lives is nearly endless.

"She's probably taught thousands of children, she's been in several school systems, she's retired from several school systems, but she comes every day and gives it her all,” says Williams.

Williams says teaching for more than 50 years is a feat she may never reach, and is inspired by the passion of a teacher and friend who won't stop giving it her all.

"I love teaching and I want to do it as long as I feel like I can make a difference in a child's life," says Clinton.

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