Salina, Kansas 1922-1975
Myrtle S. Jaeger Wirth Meacham’s first year of teaching in Kansas was 1922-1923 in Osborne County after graduating from high school in Lincoln in 1922. Her second year of teaching was 1923-1924 in a rural school closer to home. She then attended Ottawa University (Kansas) from 1924-1926 where she became a member of the Class of 1928. She then taught two years in Sedgwick, Kansas 1926-1928 where her students were sixth and seventh graders, which she always said were her favorite grades to teach.
In 1928 she married William “Bill” F. Worth and was a farm housewife for a number of years. From 1947 to 1948 she taught in a rural school in Lincoln County Kansas. From 1949-1953 she taught at a rural school in Ash Grove, Kansas. From 1953 to 1955 she taught in Lincoln, Kansas. She then taught from 1955 to 1970 in Salina, Kansas, first at Sunset elementary school for 13 years and then at Hawthorne elementary school for two years. She retired in 1970 from the public school system, but continued teaching “English as a second language” in Salina for 5 years. Bill Worth died in 1953 and in 1983, at age 79, she married Don Meacham, a retired public school coach and administrator in Lorraine, Kansas.
After first attending Ottawa University 1924-1926 she completed and received her bachelor’s degree in 1956. She also received a Master’s Degree from Kansas State University in 1962, commuting during summers from Salina, after starting the degree in Wichita State University. In 1983, Myrtle was elected to the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame in Dodge City.
After she retired, Myrtle was asked “Is there advice that you would give someone younger starting a career in teaching?” to which she responded: “Well in the first place, it’s not easy. Because there’s more than book learning. You’re really dealing with a child’s whole life. You have to help them learn how to get along with other children and appreciate things they do. In some cases you got to build a child’s esteem, he doesn’t have much. Others you have to pound them down so they don’t think they’re whole cheese.