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Teacher Feature of the Week

Posted on Friday, January 12, 2024 at 2:30 pm

Teacher Feature of the Week – Business teacher at CHS

(Vicky Carlton is a business teacher at Cornersville High School and over the 32 years she has taught, she has witnessed the business curriculum change due to changes in technology. As a Future Business Leaders of America advisor, she has witnessed many of her students compete, win, and succeed. Below is Vicky’s story.)

My interest in becoming a business teacher began in high school. I always enjoyed vocational office education classes and was successful at state and national level word processing competitions. After a year and a half of overload (21 hours), I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Education at MTSU and later finished my Masters in Business Education there as well.

When I began my teaching career at Cornersville High School in 1991, students were still being taught typing on electronic typewriters with a few lessons on Apple IIe computers. Two years later we entered the computer era by teaching keyboarding on Macintosh Apple 575s for students in the business lab. The county later moved to the Windows platform, and while we have upgraded many times since then, I am pleased that the business departments have continued to provide students with courses that provide proficient technology skills using the Microsoft Office suite.

Understandably, my courses have changed considerably over the years as have student projects and assignments. Grading typewritten letters and reports gave way to professional posters and social media communications and lessons on digital citizenship and cybersecurity. Oral presentations using notecards were replaced with interactive presentation boards and hyperlinked quizzes produced by students. Our students in the advanced dual enrollment office management course are now dually enrolled in TCAT Pulaski and work for several weeks to attain the rigorous Microsoft Office industry certification.

“Giving Back” is very important to me, and I am thankful to have been able to be a part of many student-led initiatives that made a difference for others. I have many fond memories of leading school service projects as Student Council Co-Advisor for a number of years. In 2004 I began the first chapter of Future Business Leaders of America and we were extremely active in various charitable organizations and school projects. It’s been very rewarding for me to see students learn first hand how “it is better to give than to receive” by participating in many yearly service projects benefiting those in our community.

As the FBLA Advisor, I have also had the privilege of watching many students work tirelessly to prepare for business competitions and witnessed almost every competitor make it to the award stage at the 2000-attendee state conference. It was thrilling to see their excited faces as their names were called and appeared on the award screen. They soon realized they all had put Cornersville on the map so to speak and that our small town was widely known throughout the statewide organization because of our school’s repeated successes.

It’s been exciting to accompany ten students who earned trips to compete in their respective events at National Leadership Conferences in San Antonio, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Orlando. Seeing them experience their first flight, tour the conference city, and meet other students across the country was simply priceless.

While I’ve only mentioned a few examples of student successes, it is so very rewarding to see every student succeed in all areas. Likewise, we teachers celebrate when we learn about the personal and career-related successes of our alumni as well. Even more so, the one-on-one experiences with students who need a listening ear and encouragement are the most rewarding because I believe those are God-ordained appointments. Seeing a student push through a difficult time, hearing first-hand accounts from alumni that our classes have assisted them in college or the workplace, and catching up with the students who stop back by just to say hi are my most treasured blessings, and I thank God for working in their lives!

CTE is my passion because I see firsthand the connection of what our classes teach and the need for those skills in the workplace and postsecondary education. I believe ALL students CAN succeed, but I long to see the return of a technical path for high school students. I believe their time in high school can be better spent than our current “force even the square pegs in the round hole” system. I pray for a huge turnaround in the government controlling our public education system, whereby curriculum is at grade level, standards are presented at a suitable pace, and those trained to teach are allowed the freedom to do so without unrealistic mandates from the government. I have high standards for myself and for my students who produce very impressive projects and professional documents, but my department is still allowed the freedom to do this without unreasonable benchmarks set by politicians.

Lots of people have asked when I’m retiring, but I’m learning it’s best to wait on God’s guidance in all things. I’ve had 32 blessed years at CHS, and I am grateful. Like I tell the students in our career unit each semester, “If I have to work, there is no place I’d rather be than Cornersville High School.