Person of the Week
Linnea Page's School of Thought
A longtime teacher in Madison, Linnea Page enjoyed shaping the minds and inspiring the hearts of young children. (Photo by Maria Caulfield/The Source | Buy This Photo)
As a young child, Linnea Page knew what she wanted to be: a school teacher. She pursued that career choice and became a lifelong teacher of young children. A longtime resident of Madison, she formed the minds and inspired the hearts of 3rd-grade students at Island Avenue School.
“I loved teaching. I loved working with children. Even as a little girl, my mother would say that I was very good with little children,” she says. “I can remember my mother saying when her friends would come over and one of them would bring a child…’Don’t worry about it. Linnea is very good with little children.’”
The only thing that could take Linnea away from the classroom was the care of her own three daughters, who are now grown. But good memories of her teaching days drew her back to Island Avenue School when it closed earlier this year.
Before coming to Island Avenue School, she also taught young children in Queens, New York. When she lived in New York, she spent summers in Madison, where she eventually met Seymour Page, who would become her husband. She and Seymour have converted their summer home in Madison into their fulltime home—right next to the house she grew up in.
A graduate of Hunter College, she completed her degree in English literature and studied education as a second major. Her college degree put her on a solid course to a teaching career. She admits that teaching “is a challenge, but you do the best you can.”
She recalls one instance when, unbeknownst to the teachers, a principal scheduled a fire drill on the second day of school. At the time, she was teaching very young students who had never been to school before. One young boy was in the restroom when the school bell rang incessantly and he became so flustered that he could not get out of the locked stall. She had to come and rescue the boy and reassure him that the noise was the result of a fire drill.
There were heartwarming incidents, too, like one in Queens when she was on yard duty in the backyard of the school and all the children of her class came running up to her to give her a collective hug.
On another occasion, this time in Madison, her young students came to her home, picked blooms from her backyard, rang her doorbell, and tried to sell her a bouquet of her own flowers.
Through her years of teaching, Linnea gained valuable insight.
“The relationship of a parent and a child is tremendously important,” she says.
Working with children, she got to know parents as well. On one disturbing occasion, a mother and her young son came to the school for a parent-teacher conference. The child could not be in the same room with Linnea and the mother because the conference was about his school performance. During the conference, Linnea noticed that the mother was more concerned about herself than on the feedback about her son’s studies. When the meeting was finally over, the mother returned home but forgot her son who was waiting in the hallway.
She also believes that teachers are not given their fair due.
“Teachers are very poorly paid,” she notes. “Although [people] think that teachers get summers off, many get other jobs or take courses in the summer to improve their teaching abilities,” she adds.
But to Linnea, teaching is a noble profession.
To this day, people would come up to her in ordinary places around town.
“Some of the kids I had taught, every now and then, would come to me at Stop & Shop and say, ‘Oh Mrs. Page, how are you? I had you as a teacher (some years back).’”
Although names sometimes elude her, she remembers the faces of her former students, even in adulthood.
Her husband Seymour adds that occasionally, “someone may come up to me to talk about my wife, not about me.”
Looking back on her career, Linnea says that she has no regrets.
“I will never regret having been a teacher, and I am happy that I could do that, because it was something that was helpful,” she says. “Children know when the teachers love and care for them.
“Teaching is a wonderful profession. It really is,” she says.
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