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Retired teacher can't stay out of school

VICKSBURG -- Linda Turner may have retired from the classroom in 2010 after 33 years of teaching, but she has not stopped caring about children.

Turner, along with other retired teachers, has been helping at Dana Road Elementary, initially in an effort to aid children with their reading skills and now to assist teachers in the classroom.

Turner said she found out about the need at Dana Road from some church friends.

"The scores were down and everybody was struggling, and we just saw that there was need there at Dana Road," Turner said.

"We began with reading partners where we read with children that just needed someone to read to them. We had pretty good teams that did that until core curriculum kicked in," she said.

"We would go out and read with groups of no more than three at a time, and then when we could not pull the children from the classrooms anymore, then we looked at ways to help the teachers," which is what Turner said she has been doing for the past three years.

Turner said she works with a core group of retired teachers who include Bettye Myers, Peggy Robinson, Joy Wing and Lee Ann Whitley.

These women, along with other volunteers, prepare needed teaching materials for classrooms.

"We do all kinds of things for the classrooms that teachers don't have time to do," Turner said.

The volunteers will make math flash cards, reading flash cards, and put together manipulatives, which Turner describes as hands-on learning projects for the children.

When you get a group of 15 or so volunteers, you can knock out these kinds of projects in a couple of hours, she said.

Because of Turner's experience as a teacher, she said she knows what is involved in setting up and maintaining a visually active classroom for children, and the volunteers work has been appreciated.

"We have thank you notes from teachers saying this has allowed them to have family time again. I think that is the core thing. It has allowed them (the teachers) to have some down time and free time," Turner said.

In addition to volunteering her time at Dana Road, Turner has also been on more than 13 mission trips to Mexico and Honduras.