Tuscaloosa city school teacher plows ahead in profession despite high burnout, high turnover

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 3:50 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 20, 2022 at 10:44 AM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala, (WBRC) - It’s a profession with a high burnout rate and a revolving door. Teachers come and go for various reasons, but you won’t find that to be case with this Tuscaloosa city kindergarten teacher. Patricia Ford begins the new school year much like the way she did her first year.

Patricia Ford is entering her 26th year at Rock Quarry Elementary School in Tuscaloosa, and she has no plans of stepping down anytime soon. In fact, retirement is not in her vocabulary.

Inside Rock Quarry Elementary School, Patricia Ford begins the day and the new year with one singular mission.

“I do what I do because of the children,” said Ford.

Here in the same classroom, the same school house for the last 26 years, practically unheard of today when so many of Ford’s contemporaries are leaving the profession.

It’s a fact Ford is aware of, and understands the burnout, but for her - she’s not there. Not even close.

“I’m a prayer warrior and I pray often. The day I am no longer in love with teaching and I cannot help one more child, based on my emotions and what I am feeling, then I’ll walk away,” said Ford.

Patricia Ford will tell you there’s nothing magical about her teaching method. Ford is simply living out a dream she had as a little girl from West Alabama, more than flexible with her teaching style, learning new technology on a dime and embracing the notion it’s so much more than academics when it comes to the little ones.

“It’s also about the social and emotional as well. Their excitement for learning keeps me motivated to keep going,” she said.

And keep going is what Patricia Ford does best. The word around here is that Ford practically begs to have the children who may have trouble learning at first, the mark of a warrior who is not afraid to tackle tough assignments.

“And it could be behavioral as well, but I’ve learned over the years they are still someone’s baby,” Ford said.

Patricia Ford - rock star, rock solid at Rock Quarry Elementary.

Patricia Ford estimated she’s probably taught around 5,000 children over 26 years, and is quick to point out they are the ones who made her the teacher she is today, along with her fellow teachers at Rock Quarry.


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