MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – High school seniors aren’t the only ones saying farewell this week. Every summer several teachers do too. At Myrtle Beach Middle School is a pair of teachers that together have taught for 88 years.
“To see parents come back and say, oh Ms. Tinker, you’re still here, and now you have my child you know,” said Ann Tinker, sixth grade teacher at Myrtle Beach Middle School
“That’s been the big comment over the last few years, ‘you’re still here?’ Yeah, we’re still here,” said Becky Millsaps, seventh grade teacher at Myrtle Beach Middle School.
Still here today but gone tomorrow. Ann Tinker and Becky Millsaps have both taught English language arts for 44 years. However, this relationship started well before they ever stepped into a classroom, even as students. Ann and Becky are also sisters.
“I finished graduate school and came back here,” said Tinker, “and we started working together and have been together ever since.”
Together at Myrtle Beach Middle School.
“I think we both have taught with our heart,” said Tinker, “and that’s it, because we are very sensitive, sensitive to the feelings of this age group, in particular.”
A lot has changed in 44 years, according to Millsaps, technology has been the biggest challenge.
“I think the technology has been the biggest challenge,” said Millsaps. “It was very difficult starting out, but I’m not afraid to ask a question. I’m not afraid to ask a student to help me. Sometimes students are much more helpful than adults.”
Whatever challenges the sisters saw, there are 100 more stories about what makes their jobs so hard to quit.
“I got an email one day from a former student,” said Millsaps. “He wrote me and said ‘Ms. Millsaps, if you remember me,’ his name was Paul Gable, ‘but I’m an editor of a newspaper in Indianapolis,’ he said ‘I travel all over the country, giving speeches and I always use your name, because he said you taught me to be a writer.”
“About five or six years ago,” said Tinker, “and I went to my mailbox and there was a letter for me, and it said, “Dear Ms. Tinker, this is your former student, Anthony,’ and he said ‘I don’t know if you remember me or not, I was your sixth grade student, when we had our book fair, you took me to the library, and bought be the book ‘Michael Jackson, Dancing The Dream” and he said ‘you inspired me to write. And I want you to know that I have published books today.’ And he gave me a copy of, it looked like a Harry Potter book.”
Faster than you can lose a teen’s attention 44 years is 44-miles behind you.
“We do treasure everything we have behind us and look forward to what we have ahead of us,” said Tinker.