Barbara Bishop Mann ’66 taught University of Mary Washington College of Education graduates a lesson at the annual Educator-in-Residence program May 1.
“You’re going to change the world. Why? Because you have to,” said Mann, who spent more than 35 years in the classroom. “Do what you have to do to get through to the kids. It’s all for them.”
Mann, or Mrs. Mann as her students referred to her, earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Mary Washington and began teaching elementary school in Alabama. She retired from teaching 10 years ago from Chesterfield County Public Schools.
She offered sage tips to the graduating class of future teachers: “Protect your teacher voice. Suck on menthol, eucalyptus cough drops” . . . “Build relationships and support who and what you believe in. . . You can’t teach in an isolated classroom.”
And Mann heeds her own advice. She served on the Virginia Education Association (VEA) Board of Directors for 12 years and as president of the Chesterfield Education Association (CEA). She remains active in the VEA Retired Council, the CEA Board of Directors and the local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. Of course, she sucked on a cough drop during her remarks.
“Be bold, be brave, communicate, advocate for education,” said Mann, who also is an active member of the UMW alumni community, serving on the UMW Alumni Association Board and its executive committee. In addition, she is a member of the College of Education’s first advisory board and supports UMW education students through two endowed scholarship funds.
“If you work hard and you love what you do, the kids can feel it and they’ll learn,” said Mann.
The daylong event at the Stafford campus also featured graduate presentations ranging from using graphic novels in the classroom to employing computer games to teach math, hands-on time in the new makerspace on the Stafford campus, and a ceremony celebrating graduates with a number of COE awards.