Carolyn Grace VanAsdale Bordelon got into her profession by accident. She started her career as a journalist with a professional newspaper called “The Lineman Is,” and while she was writing a story on the campus of Ohio Northern University, she saw a large bulletin board with “Teacher Vacancies” written on it. She thought it must be outdated since it was the end of August and school started the day after Labor Day, but then she was approached by the superintendent of one of the districts in Allen County. He was on campus trying to find teachers he could hire and asked if she was interested. Mrs. Bordelon explained why she was there, and he told her he could give her a one-year temporary certificate for fourth grade, the last vacancy he had. He also told her he could give her a 25 percent pay increase. Although Mrs. Bordelon had never considered teaching before, she decided to give it a shot and ended up loving it. Her goal was to make the kids like reading as much as she did.
Over the years, Mrs. Bordelon served as an elementary teacher at Allen East Schools and Marion City Schools, a chapter I reading teacher and reading recovery teacher at Marion City Schools, a reading recovery teacher at Dublin City Schools, and a reading specialist at Upper Arlington City Schools. She was also an adjunct instructor in the graduate studies reading department at Ashland University. Mrs. Bordelon’s favorite part of her profession was always working directly with students, whether it was in a classroom, small group, or one-on-one tutoring session. That’s why the reading recovery program was perfect for her; it allowed her to take the lowest performing readers in a class and spend individual time with them. She worried when she first started because these students were in first grade and she only had experience with fourth and fifth graders, but she quickly found her stride. Mrs. Bordelon discovered that students at this age are less cautious and reluctant to try things. Although it was the hardest teaching she ever did, it was also the most rewarding. To help her with the role, she began meeting a group of reading recovery teachers for dinner once a week to discuss strategies pertaining to certain students. This was a voluntary effort, and the students were definitely the benefactors.
One of the most memorable moments of Mrs. Bordelon’s career was when the governor of Ohio came to visit her first-grade classroom and a Reading Recovery lesson. She and her partner teacher were very excited to be chosen for this; they had the students all make up a question to ask him, and selected a book he could read to them. Mrs. Bordelon also chose a Reading Recovery student for him to observe. The press also came to the classroom during the visit. The students were very excited. Another highlight for her is when her students come back and tell her the impact she had on them. It makes everything she does worthwhile.
Looking to the future, Mrs. Bordelon intends to supervise student teachers and extend her professional development through reading, attending conferences, and networking. She is open to any opportunity that knocks on her door.