9/21/15 Hawfields teacher finishing up career that’s seen several shifts in direction
|One last course turn|
Sam Roberts / Times-News
Hawfields teacher finishing up career that’s seen several shifts in direction
By Isaac Groves The Times-News 9/21/15
Reprinted with permission.
MEBANE — When Richard Cauley started teaching, he and his wife Sue were finally on the same schedule. It was not like that when he was in the U.S. Navy.
“I operated nuclear power plants on submarines,” Cauley said in an interview before 25 sixth-graders rolled into his class in a computer lab at Hawfields Middle School. “The longest time I ever spent (underwater) was 84 days.
“My wife was a teacher all along, and being in the Navy, I was gone a lot — 18 months out of 24 at one period — and this would give us an opportunity to be together,” Cauley said.
This is Cauley’s last year teaching business and marketing at Hawfields. He is getting close to 65 and looking forward to traveling with his wife and visiting his six grandchildren.
“It’s a big step for his future, but it’s a big loss for the school system,” Principal Greg Hook said.
Cauley’s background gives him a bearing and a way with students, Hook said.
“He’s very motivational with kids, and he models respect with kids, and I think they reciprocate that,” Hook said. “They’re modeling very good behavior and respect.”
On Sept. 11, Hook said, Cauley explained the significance of the day on the school’s public address system — especially to him, as a veteran and the father of three Marines with seven deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan among them.
AT 19, CAULEY was barely an adult when he started his first career. He grew up mostly in Alabama. His father spent 10 years in the U.S. Army and another 10 in the Air Force.
“It was 1969 (when) I got a notice to come take a physical,” Cauley said. “I said, ‘Dad, I need some advice.’ Vietnam was raging, of course, and he said, ‘If you want to fight, join the Marines. They’ll better train you to do what you need to do. If you want an education, go in the Navy.’”
He got one degree from what is now called the University of Maryland University College Europe in Germany, and all the training it takes to operate a nuclear power plant. After retiring from the Navy at 39, he got an MBA at The Citadel.
Cauley spent 16 years in corporate management. Teaching, he said, is pretty different from the previous careers, especially his corporate experiences.
“Of course there’s been some adjustment,” he said. “Managerial styles are different between here, working with middle-school students and working with adults.”
IN CLASS, HIS voice carries, though he does not seem to raise it, or have a reason to. As students come in, he gives them instructions, and they seem to stay focused even while he goes around the lab helping students having trouble getting their computers started.
Cauley was teaching 25 sixth-graders to build a website on the military from scratch with HTML code, and the day’s project is to add hyperlinks to the websites of the different branches of the armed services. About 15 are scheduled for other activities several days a week, so Cauley gets the others to help get them caught up.
“Those of you that did this yesterday, you can float around some so that people that have problems, you can help them,” Cauley said.
As the class wraps up, he makes a point to thank those students individually for their help.