More Influential Teachers, Classmates

More stories from readers about who influenced them … and how.

| September/October 2009

Strict But Fair

Through four years of high school in the mid-1950s, my classmates and I were ruled by a formidable woman. Standing close to six feet tall, our principal ruled the school with an iron fist in an iron glove. With steel-gray hair pulled back into a bun and wire-rimmed glasses sitting on her nose, Miss Tibbles allowed no nonsense from anyone. None of us had ever heard her tell a joke, and she seldom smiled. 

Not only was she the principal, but she also taught freshman and sophomore English and Latin, and for three of my four years in high school, she was either my home room or study hall teacher. 

During study hall, Miss Tibbles often went to the superintendent’s office. Before she left, she would tell us to be silent and to keep studying while she was gone, which, of course, we didn’t do. Occasionally the intercom would come on, and we would hear her deep voice telling us that we would all receive demerits if we did not settle down at once. Most of the time we would hear her thick-heeled, laced-up shoes clomping on the wooden floor as she made her way down the hallway toward her classroom, and we would quickly return to our seats and open our books to make it look like we’d been studying all along. 

My classmates and I all thought we didn’t like her, but we did have to admit she was fair. She never played favorites among the students, and she always allowed us to explain our mistakes. She dealt out her own punishments, and even if we didn’t like it, we had to admit we deserved what we got. 

Miss Tibbles tried her best to help the slower learners, and she pushed the smarter students to reach higher. She also encouraged us girls to go to college or business school so we could support ourselves and not have to depend on someone to take care of us. Now, remember, this was during a time when college wasn’t that common for girls. 

She gave me the push I needed to go on to school, and, even though I didn’t continue with my studies, to read and learn for a lifetime. I feel my interest in many different subjects can be traced back to her influence. Miss Tibbles is gone now, but when I surf the internet for an answer to a question, I often think of how much she would have loved computers. 

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: February 16-17, 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds