The Longest Teaching Career?

By Bryan Toporek — August 23, 2010 1 min read
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When he died earlier this summer at age 92, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia was the longest-serving member the United States Congress. So it’s pretty surprising to learn that he has a former high school classmate who is still teaching.

Buford Hartsog, a 94-year-old originally from North Carolina, grew up in Raleigh County, West Virginia with former Sen. Byrd, attending Mark Twain High School at the same time Byrd did.

Hartsog went on to become a teacher, working in the public school system throughout his entire career before “officially” retiring from the classroom at 81. Since retirement, Hartsog has worked three days a week in the schoolhouse at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine in West Virginia, where he talks to visitors about his days back in the one-room schoolhouse from the 1920s.

For what it’s worth, Hartsog believes that corporal punishment is desperately missing in schools these days.

“Young folks have absolutely no discipline,” he said. “They’re not taught it in school, and they’re not taught it at home. They don’t get discipline until they get to jail or get to the military.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.