Caton’s Chapel teacher Charlotte Manning begins 40th year

Aug. 17, 2013 @ 11:52 PM

Respect. Behave. Listen. If Charlotte Manning said those words once to her fifth-graders on Friday, she said them a dozen times. Or more.

Manning is beginning her 40th year as a classroom teacher, dropping back from teaching seventh- and eighth-graders to running a classroom of fifth-graders at Caton’s Chapel School. She combines jokes, a command of English and a memory that reminds her students of their parents or siblings she taught in years past.

Manning doesn’t move quite as smoothly as she once did. Foot surgery in January has slowed her down some, as well as four decades in the classroom. She is what’s called a 100-day teacher, which means she teaches only one semester. But that doesn’t mean she lacks excitement about a new school year.

“I still love the kids,” she said.

And they love her back. Even though she had only been with her fifth-graders a few minutes, they picked up on her humor. In line to return to class after a morning recess, she jokingly scolded them about staying in line and being quiet.

“You’re not boarding Noah’s Ark,” she said. She walked over to one boy and said, “I guess if we were I’d know what animal you’d be.” They all laughed.

Bill Hatcher values veteran teachers like Manning. He enters his 29th year as principal at Caton’s Chapel, which has an enrollment of around 520 students.

Friday’s first day of classes was like a holiday compared to Thursday’s early registration. He and others were at the school from around 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

He has a new assistant principal, Jon Manning (a distant relative of Charlotte Manning). Jon Manning spent 16 years in the classroom at Caton’s Chapel before his promotion.