Blair Workman


"I haven't been a teacher for long, but I think my favorite thing about teaching so far is seeing the lightbulb go off in one of my students."


Where are you from?

Oologah, Oklahoma

Which school do you teach at?

Guthrie Junior High School

How long have you been teaching?

This is my second year of teaching.

Where did you go to college?

Oklahoma Baptist University---all hail thy name.

What's your favorite school supply?

Post-It notes and Pilot G2 #20s because "they are for real the best pens"!

Favorite thing about teaching?

I haven't been a teacher for long, but I think my favorite thing about teaching so far is seeing the lightbulb go off in one of my students. Sometimes this happens with big ideas, like understanding that the Holocaust wasn't just an injustice for Ann Frank, but for a whole group of innocent people. Sometimes it's just figuring out the difference between "your" and "you're". Sometimes the lightbulb isn't even related to English at all. Sometimes it's when I get to tell a kid that they're worth too much not to take themselves seriously, and I can tell that they believe it, maybe even for the first time. For me, this is what makes dealing with raging hormones for hours on end worth while.

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

Do I have to pick just one? My mom is a teacher and a pretty phenomenal one at that! Not only did she teach me the basics of Math and Reading (I was homeschooled till the sixth grade), but she also taught me how to be human. You know, the kind that doesn't throw temper tantrums and can say "thank you," "I'm sorry," "I need coffee," etc.

As for public school, God really blessed me with lots of wonderful and caring teachers along the way. However, two that stand out are my eighth grade English teacher, Ms. Deen, and my freshman and senior English teacher, Mrs. Johnson in Oologah. Both are incredibly patient and encouraging, and they carry themselves with undeniable grace. I admired them then, but now that I'm in the profession myself I can see how easily these qualities can be spread thin, sometimes even by second hour. I probably didn't realize it at the time, but Ms. Deen and Mrs. Johnson were empowering me to do hard things, and that's invaluable.

What's your one tip for teaching?

Teacher culture is strange place... I think because teachers are constantly asked to do more there's this overhanging pressure that we're never enough. And many times it's true! When there is only one me and 170+ little minds in my responsibility it's very easy to feel overwhelmed (and that's without considering legislation and standards and Marzano and all the other teacher jargon that can make your head spin). Because of this, I try very hard to take a break when I need a break. Sometimes this means leaving a stack of ungraded papers in my classroom (go ahead and gasp), or maybe just going for a walk before a long night of lesson planning. The demands of education are great---but I'm learning more and more how important it is to take care of myself in the midst of anxiety and stress and knowing that some days there just isn't going to be enough of "Mrs. Workman" to go around. And that's okay.

If you could change one thing about education, what would you change?

I wish education wasn't so test-driven. Sure, I understand the purpose of testing and the need to gauge teacher and student performance, but in general I think it creates a negative learning environment. Kids begin to equate their worth to a percentage on an exam, and that saddens me. I don't know if I have a solution to that problem just yet (at least without sounding like a major hippie), but I hope that the micro-managing of education will soon change for the betterment of the kids.

If you didn't teach, what would you do?

I've always enjoyed writing. There are a couple of publications that I would love to write and edit for someday.

One thing that makes you smile?

Dogs. Dogs can legitimately change a terrible day into the best day of my life.