In 1969, Nancy Ann Gibson had a unique teaching style

Published 8:04 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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Another article in the careers for women series published by the Troy Messenger in 1969, is the story of Nancy Gibson and her style of teaching.

“Teaching is educational for the teacher as well as the pupils,” says Nancy Ann Gibson of Troy.  “This is especially true when teaching is combined with travel to overseas points.”

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

Miss Gibson, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Carl Gibson, has just returned from a year of teaching in Okinawa.  She spent a year there under the Department of Defense overseas program.

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Under the program, Miss Gibson was provided free government quarters and was permitted to make tours on space available military flights.

“One of the most interesting aspects of oriental life was the haggling with merchants,” Miss Gibson commented.  “One would never think of paying the first price asked by a merchant.  I was a little hesitant at first about haggling but before the year was up became fairly good at it.” 

“I even went to the Noritake China shop in Okinawa where most people do not even think of haggling and surprised the dealer by telling him I wouldn’t pay his price.  Believe it or not, he reduced his price considerably.”

Miss Gibson brought back items manufactured in each area she visited.  This included Chinese Batiks, pottery, jade, dolls and wood carvings from Taiwan, glass and lacquer ware, china, wicker furniture from Okinawa; wood carvings, bronzeware and jewelry from Bangkok, straw mats, purses, and wooden ware from the Philippines.

When she started on a shopping expedition, Miss Gibson would pack a small suitcase with clothing, the place it in a larger suitcase.  When she started home, the larger suitcase was used to carry treasures she had purchased back to Okinawa.

Miss Gibson explained that life on the army base was much like that in the states.  “You never knew you were living in another culture until you went outside the gates,” she commented.  “Once outside, you were astounded at the difference.  Primitive ways of farming are still used and homes are small one or two room shacks.”

“Older women still wear the oriental dress but the younger generation dress much as Americans,” Miss Gibson says.  “A complete kimono, complete with all necessary undergarments costs about $30 for the cheaper ones.  Festive dress will run about a hundred dollars or more.”

“One of my most interesting experiences was riding an elephant on one of my trips to Thailand, I took a ride on an elephant,” she explained.  “Here are the floating markets where Orientals trade their wares and offer them for sale.  I was also impressed by the Thai classical dances and boxing matches.  The boxers were allowed to kick, pinch, or it their opponents.”

“One of the most amazing ways of life I encountered was the sew girls.  You could get a girl to come to your apartment and sew from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. for $3.50 per day.  They average turning out about 10 garments a week.”

“The girls used no pattern.  You could show them a picture of what you wanted and they would cut patterns out of newspaper and make the dress,” Miss Gibson explained.

American children on the base are also exposed to the Oriental culture according to Miss Gibson.  An Oriental teacher is employed to teach such things as eating with chopsticks, songs, culture and dances.  Miss Gibson will leave Sunday to spend a year in Germany under the same program.  After that, Miss Gibson says she may return to teach in the states.

A graduate of Troy State University, Miss Gibson attended Auburn for two years.  She has the BS degree in elementary education.

Germany will not offer the same free space available flights as Okinawa, so Miss Gibson is planning to spend her money on travel rather than souvenirs.

     “The field is wide open and offers unlimited opportunities for the person who wants to combine a career with travel,” Miss Gibson commented.  “I would suggest especially to single girls, that they try this program before settling down to a teaching job in the states.”

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.