By Derrick Smith
Teaching can be a thankless job at times, and you can sometimes feel that nothing you are doing is making a difference. Leanne Smith Parr says that while there may be some tough days here and there, seeing the kids understand a concept makes up for it all.
“I love seeing the kids enjoy something we are studying,” she said. “I like to see that ‘lightbulb moment’ when everything clicks for them.”
Parr is in her 34th year of teaching at Ponca City High School. She currently teaches English III and AP Literature and Composition. The only other school she has taught at was Perry High School during her first year of teaching. She is married to her husband Stephen, and they have two kids, Matthew and Katie, both of whom are students at Oklahoma State University.
Teaching has always been the path that Leanne wanted for her life. She says that impacting the lives of future generations is an important but vital job.
“I can’t remember ever wanting to be anything other than a teacher,” she recalled. “I loved school and loved my teachers, so I thought that was a good choice. I had some great teachers that had a great impact on me and helped me continue to see teaching as a perfect career. Linda Grant, Linda Powers, Pam Lessert, and Lenore Tipton were the four main teachers that had the biggest impact on me. I am grateful for their guidance and willingness to teach me.”
Throughout her career she has been given numerous types of advice and words of wisdom. Parr says that out of all of them, there is one that really sticks with her when she is in the classroom.
“Always keep challenging yourself and your students,” she said. “It is important to always keep learning.”
When she is not teaching in the classroom, Leanne has other ways that she enjoys spending her time.
“I love to read, sew, and crochet,” she said. “I also love to play with our two yellow labs, Maggie and Sage.”