“For the first time, my students are shorter than me,” laughs Belinda Westfall, referring to the eighth graders she currently teaches at Pansy Kidd Middle School. Though she has taught a variety of ages from 13-75, Belinda prefers educating the younger students.
“I missed my students.” And that sentiment is what brought her back to the schoolhouse.
Belinda has been in education for 25 years. Her career first began in a high school classroom in Spiro, followed by fifteen years at Carl Albert State College teaching as a Multi-Media Specialist. Although she enjoyed teaching at Carl Albert, her heart longed to be with younger students.
Her longing to be back with her students led her to call a former student, now the principal at Panama Schools. Belinda was soon hired on at Panama High as the Senior AP and English teacher and Yearbook and Newspaper Adviser where she worked for two years. Her next step took her to her current employer, Pansy Kidd Middle School in Poteau. She teaches English and Yearbook. An influence in this decision was Joe, her husband of 31 years. He works at Poteau High School as a math teacher. Even though they don’t work at the same school, they teach in the same town and are on the same schedule.
“This has made life a little easier,” Belinda said.
Belinda only has two years left until she can retire from teaching, but she is not close to calling it quits. She has a master’s from East Central University and is an LPC candidate. She hopes to complete everything necessary to be a licensed counselor by the time she retires and then help youth with her degree. In moments not taken up by teaching, grading and her LPC candidacy, Belinda also has two granddaughters, Zoe and Lily, who will become Mrs. Westfall’s most important students.