Francesca Walker

Tell us about your work.
I teach art to third- and fourth-graders at Carysbrook Elementary. Over my 16 years of teaching, I’ve taught art, science, language arts, math, resource, and alternative education.
I really do like working with children. Sometimes they make you cry but they really do make you laugh. And they’re really sweet. They’re still young enough that they give me hugs. Some of them will give me hugs on their way to time out! So, they don’t hold grudges. They’re really loving. They break your day but they can make your day.
I’m also a bus driver. Now, that is a challenge. I’m doing it because of the cuts in pay from Fluvanna. The pay was the same for years but now it’s not there. It’s the same on paper but there are things hidden in there that reduce our take-home pay. So, driving a bus is better than going home and heading out to a store to do retail. You see, I already have a second job – playing piano for churches on Sunday. So this is my third job. On the bus I have a really good group of kids. And getting this license made me feel very accomplished, because it’s not easy! I do look forward to when I don’t have to drive the bus anymore.
Tell us about your family.
I have a niece in seventh grade who is super sweet. She takes up a big part of my life. I really enjoy her – we have a great time together. And then there’s my brother and sister-in-law and my mom and dad. We have a good time hanging out together. I love that we have a blast just having a simple family dinner. That’s why I stuck around here. I can’t imagine being away from that.
Tell us about a hobby you have.
I love traveling – or should I say “vacationing.” I love cruising to the warm spots.
I also love planning events. My parents just celebrated their 50th anniversary this past summer. We had a big bash for them and tried to reenact the 1960s, which was the era in which they married. It was really fun.
I used to build and sell houses. I finally built what I would call my dream house, but as you get older in life your priorities change. Having my dream home wasn’t what I thought it would be. The house was beautiful – but I found that I didn’t use as much of the house as I thought I would. I only used three rooms. And I didn’t have as much time to spend with family because I had to work to pay for it. It wasn’t worth it to me. I’d rather have less quantity and have more quality of life, but I didn’t figure that out until much later. Keeping up with the Joneses is a trap that a lot of people fall into.
Describe one of the highlights of your life.
My niece is a shining highlight of my life. I like watching her grow up – I just enjoy her company. For me, it’s always family, spending time with family.
Describe one of the biggest surprises of your life.
I’d have to say I’m surprised that I haven’t yet gotten any further than where I am! I had big dreams in my 20s, and when I wasn’t there at 30 I felt like a failure. You know, keeping up with the Joneses. I thought I’d have the nice big house, that I’d be married with children. It’s not a bad thing that I’m not, I’m just really surprised – because that’s what everyone does.
As I have lived on and gotten older, life isn’t about what I thought it was about at age 22. It’s not as easy to make it in the world as they make us think it is when we’re 22. I thought you just got a piece of paper (diploma) and to the top you went. I never thought about why no one else was at the top, and why so many people were still trying to get there.
Describe one of the tragedies/struggles of your life.
Teaching is a struggle to me. It’s difficult. The level of standards around behavior has changed. They tell us to hold the kids to high standards, but I don’t think we do that when it comes to discipline. It’s okay to love them but you still have to have structure. I know that people have different things going on at home, but in the real world people won’t accommodate those things.
When it comes to behavior, I think we could stand to go back to some of the older standards and approaches. They want us to teach these kids, but I don’t feel that you can teach them until you get past behavior. And one bad apple can make the whole bunch difficult. I love them all but I think that they need to behave! I don’t think we should exhaust every form of behavior problem here. We do everything here. When they become a problem for their parents maybe something will change. Let’s do that first rather than last.
Describe a dream you have for your future.
I dream of retiring early while still being able to afford to travel. I enjoy traveling all the time, not just in peak season. I’d love to build and sell again. And to have other people pay me to do their event planning!
Describe a fear you have for your future.
I fear that I won’t be able to retire early, that when I get to the early retirement cut-off I won’t be able to afford it. I don’t want to be in the situation where I can’t afford to retire because of medical expenses.
Here’s your chance to sound off.  If you could give one public service announcement/word of advice to the public at large, what would it be?
Grades and education are really important. But – who you are as a person is just as important. I think we shove down everybody’s throat to be doctors and lawyers, but not everyone has to be that. Being a good person supersedes all that. And while good manners don’t take you farther than education, they set you above a lot of people. I think we should teach manners and etiquette.
It’s okay to go to college, but if you have students who don’t want to go I don’t think we should shove it down their throats. College isn’t for everybody. And I think we can tell them that’s okay. We should encourage children that it’s more about who they are instead of what they can accomplish. To be good influences and role models for others is just as important as being a doctor or lawyer. We should encourage kids to be better people, not just professional people – and not just when somebody’s looking, but when nobody’s looking.

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138