“Dick and Jane for Guam”


My next job was completely different from retail, but supposedly informed by my teaching certificate and M.S. degree. I was hired by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory as a curriculum writer. I have tried to remember how I ever even learned about this job, much less get hired for it, but I have come up blank. Suffice it to say that in the early 1970’s there was much federal funding for education and some of it went to these regional “laboratories” which were expected to come up with innovative solutions.

The project assigned to me was to work on readers for Guam. That is primary learn to read books that were “culturally relevant” for beginning readers in Guam. Where to begin with how unqualified I was for this job? I had never written a primer. I had never taught beginning reading. Most important, I had never been to Guam! I had to haul out my atlas to even find out where Guam was located.

But I was now working for more money, only five days a week, regular hours, with a real office, a real desk and real secretaries. It didn’t seem prudent to point out my shortcomings. Clearly they saw promise in me that I wasn’t aware of! And so began my two year sojourn with the Lab.

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