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Teaching: Then & Now

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

Can you imagine what it was like to teach in the 1960s in New Brockton, AL? If you can imagine what it was like to teach during segregation, then you can sort of understand how Ms. Betty Refegee felt as a young woman working during this time.

History tends to repeat itself. So much like today, there were limited job availabilities for people looking to make a living, but Refegee was determined to find a career that would be long serving. Starting in New Brockton as a librarian during segregation, then later a teacher of 7th – 12th graders, she learned important skills that she would later improve and change depending on her audience.

In 1966, she transferred to an integrated Zion Chapel Elementary school in Jack, AL where she taught for 22 years. In her new position as a 4th grade teacher, she faced the challenge of learning different teaching styles to best accommodate her younger students. Her flexibility was rewarded by the relationships she had with her students. She said, “I had no major problems. I loved my students. I respected my students and they in turn respected me.”

Ms. Betty Reffegee has decided to write and publish a biography titled, "Challenging Changes". It is a biography based on her life and family growing up in rural Alabama. She thought it was important to put this on record for the younger generations to never forget their history and where they came from.

In this series, we highlight teachers because teachers have a duty to develop the minds of the future generation. Ms. Reffegee is an example of a teacher who has been instrumental in this daunting task. We celebrate her and those like her any chance we can.

You know you made a lasting impact when after more than 4 decades later, there is still so much love from former students and educators!

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