Joyce Knox (M.Ed. ’70) My husband John and I were already teaching in Virginia when we became interested in the Curry School of Education through extension classes in Richmond. We then took classes in Charlottesville at nights and in the summers. John took off a year from teaching to finish his master’s degree from Curry. I lived on Grounds one summer to complete mine, and we both graduated in 1970.
What a wonderful experience. I learned subject matter, but I really learned that you should expect the best from people, and you usually succeeded with that plan. Most of my fellow students were men, as this was in the late 60’s. Even for field trips to the ocean or through caves they wore ties. People were honest and looked out for one another. I used the lessons I learned throughout the rest of my teaching career.
On my 55th birthday, John and I took a beginning motorcycle class, and we were hooked. We joined a BMW motorcycle club to learn more about motorcycling. It was great. We enjoyed the company and improved our riding skills. Eventually, we took a class to become Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructors.
Most of the people taking the class had trouble with presenting the classroom section of material. They felt uncomfortable in front of a group. For me, the classroom time was great. Doing the actual motorcycle drills out on the range scared me.
I love to talk and perhaps “overteach” material. At first, I had to watch myself giving instructions for the ride. I was supposed to read only from the instruction booklet and not ad lib. Most of the other instructors were stronger riders but didn’t enjoy doing the classroom work as much. I had a good background in classroom materials and could concentrate on the riding portion of the class.
In 2003 I retired from teaching science at Highland Springs High School in Henrico County, and John retired from teaching at Fairfield Junior High, just down the road.
After I had taught a number of classes in beginning motorcycling I went back and told my former colleagues of my wonderful teaching job. I had no trouble with absent/tardy students. There was a waiting list for people to take the class and if an exercise had started before they arrived, they were told they could reschedule and pay for the class again. There was no lunchroom, hall or bathroom duty. The students were there because they wanted to learn. They wanted more riding, not less. They offered to help get out supplies and put them away. In the classroom portion, the students talked of motorcycle riding and asked relevant questions.
After teaching high school students I almost felt like a goddess when I would give out successful completion cards or temporary motorcycle licenses.
Thank you, UVA, for teaching me skills I used to earn a living for many years but also skills that could transfer into areas of personal satisfaction.