In 1956, the first videotape recorder went on sale, Elvis Presley had his first hit single and Jerry Martin began teaching.

Almost 50 years later, Martin, of Hermiston, continues his legacy of education as a substitute teacher.

Martin recently took over a third-grade classroom at Sam Boardman Elementary for a day, even though he celebrated his 80th birthday on May 18.

“My mother subbed until she was 82. I don’t think I’ll break her record, but I figure I’ll keep going a bit longer,” he said during a quick break between classes.

Martin began his teaching career in Iowa in 1956. In 1965, he and his wife, Ione, also a teacher, transferred to Eastern Oregon. Martin worked in Morrow County as a middle school social studies and physical education teacher until retirement in 1994.

“There have been a lot of changes since I started teaching,” Martin said. “Computers are the biggest change, how the Internet has influenced education.”

But Martin said the increase of technology in the classroom has a positive impact.

“Knowledge is something you can’t replace,” he said. “The kids have more knowledge, and they learn it faster because of computers and the Internet.”

Since retirement, Martin has continued as a substitute teacher, working in elementary and middle schools across the region.

“I really don’t have any other hobbies or things like that, so I thought I’d use subbing as a hobby,” he said with a laugh. “That’s what I’ve done, and I still enjoy it.”

Martin said his favorite part of teaching is interacting with the students.

“If you like to work with kids and enjoy being around them, school is a great place to be,” he said. “The methods change over the years, but the kids stay the same. I have enjoyed every day that I’ve been a regular teacher or a sub. I can’t say enough what a pleasure it is to do this.”


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