Retired Dalton teacher Connie Berg was surprised at her recent birthday by her grandsons, Carter and Brodey, who dressed as Elvis impersonators.
- This column’s goal is to highlight local retired teachers. Contact the Gazette & News if there is a teacher you would like to learn about or email [email protected] gmail.com.
This article was written at the request of Trisha (Amstutz) Doty, a former student of Connie Berg’s.
By JACQUI HERSHBERGER
When you learn about some teachers others had, you wish that you also could’ve been their student.
Those who had Connie Berg – as a teacher or a friend – will remember her energetic personality and her unique laugh. They will probably even be able to sing the linking verbs song she faithfully taught Language Arts seventh grade students at Dalton Intermediate.
When Berg hears the name of a former student, she still sees the junior high face.
“There was a rewarding sense of accomplishment when a light bulb would go off that they understood,” she said.
Connie Berg grew up in Scotland, Indiana, which often caused some confusion. Her maiden name was Britton. So when people asked, “What’s your name?” she’d answer Connie Britton. The next question was often “Where are you from?” and her response of Scotland followed by Indiana often left people’s eyes wide.
When asked why she became a teacher, Berg said that she had wanted to pursue a teaching career for as long as she could remember. Starting when she was about 5, she would play school and teach her two younger brothers. She loved learning, teaching, and schoolwork.
For first and second grade, as well as third and fourth, Berg went to elementary school in Scotland, Indiana. Since two grade levels were conducted by the same teacher in the same classroom, she got to hear the teacher teach both grade levels in grades one through four. She felt as if she were doubly educated each year. She then went to school in Bloomfield, Indiana to attend Junior High in the sixth grade when Scotland Elementary was consolidated. She graduated from Bloomfield High School.
Berg received a scholarship to attend Milligan College in Johnson City, Tennessee. She attended there for four years where she was active on the cheer team. She earned a BA in elementary teaching, grades 1-8. At college, she met Mark Berg, who was on the basketball team. They got married and moved to Dalton, his hometown.
In the fall of 1972, she started teaching at Dalton Intermediate, and she continued to teach in the same building for 30 years. The first 24 years were in the classroom; the last six years she was the Dean of Students and she taught exploratory programs during that time, such as Latin, First Aid and CPR.
Berg taught different subjects and junior high classes, including math, social studies, and home economics. One of her vivid memories of teaching happened in a home economics class. Lisa Donohoe was sewing when she asked, “Mrs. Berg, can you please come here?” Mrs. Berg went to investigate and saw that the needle had gone completely through her index finger. Calmly, she wheeled the needle back out and sent Donohoe to the office to have it checked over and the parent informed.
Almost all of her years were spent teaching the seventh grade Language Arts class. They would have competitions in the classroom and just have a lot of fun while learning. Mark Bechtold, Matthew Carver, and Amy Nussbaum were some of the many students she remembers fondly just to mention a few.
“Matthew and Mark were both feisty and could be a handful, but I saw more in them than they saw in themselves at that time. Both are productive successful men today,” Berg said.
Nussbaum continues to send her a birthday card every year and keeps in touch.
Berg had a positive way of relating to her students.
“I could usually pick out the students that needed a little extra friendliness, and I had a few!” she said in a recent phone interview. “Looking back over my teaching career, I have no major regrets other than I wish I had documented all the special incidents and students in a booklet to have to look back on as there were so many that touched my life,” she emailed.
Berg served as Cheerleading Adviser, Power of the Pen Coach, Student Council Adviser, President of DLEA (teacher union) as well as other supplementary positions.
“I loved serving my school and community” she wrote.