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Shirley Glenn – taking the back door to education

Mrs. Glenn gives Lee Peacock advice concerning a science project required of all students. Mrs. Glenn gives Lee Peacock advice concerning a science project required of all students.

Shirley Glenn taught in Jackson County Schools, beginning at Greenwood High School and ending her career at Marianna High School.   You might say Mrs. Glenn didn’t take the direct route to education.  She graduated from Florida State College for Women (now FSU) with a degree in Home Economics, with emphasis on dietitian. 

She began her career at Alachua General Hospital as a dietitian.  This was prior to the birth of her first of three children.  Once Carol Glenn was born, the long hours, along with them being broken up throughout the day, she opted to be a stay at home mom, raising her three children.  

In 1957, her daughter, Shirley Glenn Taylor started first grade, and Mrs. Glenn took a position at Greenwood High School teaching Homer Economics.  She taught there for three years before moving to Marianna High School to teach a ninth-grade science class.  This put her closer to her home in Marianna and she began what she referred to as the hardest year of her life in the classroom.  She went from teaching home economics with all girls in a class to teaching science to all boys.  Girls then took home economics and boys took science.  She had enrolled in college at night and summer to receive her teaching certification.  Those first-year students never picked up that it was a rough year for Mrs. Glenn, as she taught science like it had been her calling. 

With Mrs. Glenn’s desire to achieve at the highest level, it took her little time to move through the teacher certification process.  Once that was achieved, she moved to teaching biology and physiology.  She enjoyed the physiology the most.  Shirley Glenn Taylor recalls a humorous story about a joke that was played on her mom while teaching at Marianna High, “I remember as a joke on her was with my brother Steve. Steve was in her biology class and the lesson was on blood types. She had told the class to demonstrate she would test Steve and he would have type O because she and daddy were type O.   When she typed Steve, he was type A.  She wasn’t sure what to say so she ended the lesson. That night when daddy got home she told him she was going to type his blood and explained. After it was done he was type A.  Mystery solved but not before she had been embarrassed.” 

Hazel Patterson was one of Glenn’s students in the mid-sixties and she said, “Make no mistake about it, Mrs. Glenn had four eyes on every side of her head.  We thought from time to time, we had pulled something over on her but we always later found out we had not.  Once a classmate of mine and I’ll keep his identity a secret had ‘overseen’ a test we were scheduled to have the week of homecoming.  So, we all elected to oversee that same test.  We met and found all the answers and were ready to ace that test with smiles on our faces when we walked in her classroom.  She asked ‘John’ if he would pass out the tests for her which was unusual because she always passed out the tests herself, one by one. One look on his face said it all.  As we each took our test, the same look came over everyone’s face.  The test ‘John’ thought would give him and everyone an easy A was in fact a test for another class.  As we struggled through the test, about halfway through the class, Mrs. Glenn says, “Would you like to have the assistance of your notes?”  Well of course we all jumped on that so it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been but we never chose the easy way out again in her class.”  

With the name given to use of the little entrepreneur, the TIMES contacted ‘John’ to get his version of this found pot of gold.  ‘John’ had pretty much the same tale with a little extra twist that explained how Mrs. Glenn was tipped off, “Yeah, I did that but this is how it came down.  She had sent me to her supply closet to get something and there the test was, just sitting there for the taking.  So of course, I thought we could all use a little boost to our grades so I borrowed.  I took it to the office because I knew Mrs. Glenn was pretty smart and she probably knew exactly how many tests she had.  I told Mrs. Wester that Mrs. Glenn was one test short and that she sent me to get another copy.  Back then we didn’t have copies like you do now so Mrs. Wester said yes but she’d have to mimeograph me one in a little bit and to come back.  I waited outside the office just in case Mrs. Glenn had her planning and I got busted. About 15 minutes later I walked back in the office and it was ready.  I waited that afternoon until after Mrs. Glenn left her room and I took the extra test and put it back in the closet.  We were home free- so I thought.  The next afternoon after the big test, Mrs. Glenn saw me in the hallway and said, “Is there something you want to tell me?”  I played dumb which wasn’t really hard for me to do and she said, “Mrs. Wester apologized for shorting me a copy of the test.”  I hung my head, said I was sorry and couldn’t get out of her view soon enough. But hey, she was a great sport about it.” 

Mrs. Glenn was married to another Jackson County icon Coon Bottom Glenn, and they had three children, Steve Glenn, Carol Glenn Prentiss and Shirley Glenn Taylor.

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