Hamilton continues teaching after 56 years

Kathryn Hamilton, 87, has started her 39th year as an English teacher at Frenship High School but has been teaching in public schools for 53 years. Before that, she also taught for three years at a private kindergarten.  She is from Jayton, Texas, which is named after her father.

What motivated you to become a teacher?

“I had an aunt who was a teacher there at Jayton, and I admired her. And she convinced me that was a good job for a woman.”

Why do you continue to teach?

“I’ve never done anything else, so I just think, one more year, and one more year, and it keeps going… I really don’t have a strong hobby. All I’ve ever done is work, keep house and raise four children… I like getting up and going to work.”

Mary Kathryn Hamilton

Age: 87
Husband: Tom
Children: Richard Hamilton, David Hamilton, Kathy Rodgers and Kent Hamilton
Favorite book: “Jane Eyre”
Favorite plays: “My Fair Lady” and “Every Man”
Hobbies: Gardening, cooking, grandkids and reading

What subjects have you taught?

“I’ve taught all of the English levels, from 7th, 8th and through seniors. And I’ve taught psychology, and I was a theater teacher for 40 years. It got so big, I had to make a choice. You either do all drama or all English. I preferred English.”

What do you like best about teaching English?

“I like British literature, and really, in Frenship, that’s what I’ve taught for 39 years… I got to go to England and see what it’s all about. I like English literature. I like the classic books that need to be read.”

Which classics should be read by everyone?

“Some universities will say ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ some say ‘Jane Eyre,’ it all depends… I can remember my kids had to read ‘Gulliver’s Travels,’ and they hadn’t read that. I guess I thought senior English teachers should be a little more concerned about what kids are reading so when they go to college, they have that background.”

Is it difficult to work with teens?

“It is challenging with seniors because they’re ready to get out, they’re through.”

Are you married?

“I married a hometown boy. Shall I tell you how many years? 63 years! He taught out here, and he’s been retired 22 years.”

Do you think you will ever retire?

“I’ll retire. My goal was so many years in Frenship. But I don’t know when.”

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