Before Magnet: Ms. Langley

In this segment of Before Magnet, learn a little bit more about Mrs. Langley before she became a Raptor!


Mrs. Langley reading one of her favorites from her large collection of antique books, "Little Hiawatha".

In this second article of our Before Magnet segment, Adriana, Caroline, and Savannah got the chance to talk with Ms. Langley about her life before teaching at Academic Magnet.

Q: What are those old books you have?

“Those are my old great aunt’s books. There were five girls, and their father was a pro-baseball player and a manager for the Yankees. He was the “tabasco” kid. He was so mean and would hit umpires. He had 5 daughters and made them realize that they could do anything a boy could do. So they formed a baseball team;  they boxed, swam, dove, and played tennis. They lived in Tennessee. There’s my granddad in that picture over there. Two of them became science teachers and all went to school. I am the last descendant so I’m stuck with all these books, and these are only a fraction of the amount!”

Q: What are some stories you remember from your childhood?

“My brother and I made an igloo one time. We rolled a whole bunch of snow together like making a snowman and dug it out when we were living in Franklin, Tennessee.

One time I was playing soccer when I had braces. I was a midfielder, and I was good back in the day. But one day I forgot my mouth piece and was smacked in the face with a soccer ball.

On my tenth birthday, I had a sleepover, and we used to toilet paper people’s houses back in the day. My five friends and I told my mom that we were going to toilet paper someone’s house. She told us, ‘Don’t tell me you’re doing that, but if you do, put toilet paper on our house too so they won’t think that you did it.’”

Q: Have you met any celebrities?

“I’ve met Norah Jones. I went to her concert and we parked where her bus was. We talked to her and she signed my ticket, but I ended up giving the ticket to a student who loved Norah Jones a few years ago. I also met President Ford at a golf tournament. I was 5, and my brother and I were walking around getting autographs. My mom was like, ‘Where are my kids?’ The secret service told her, ‘They are right up there with President Ford!’”

Q: What’s something you regret or a bad decision you’ve made?

“Skipping too many classes in college. The more time I gave myself, the more time I wasted. I don’t believe in regrets really, but if I had to do something over I would do that. But I don’t think my brain was ready…”

Q: What’s the most interesting job you’ve had?

“I did archaeology down at St. Johns Cinnamon Bay in the Virgin Islands. We were researching the Taino people. We would sit there at the digs, just going through the stuff around where they would bury their people. I got creeped out. I felt like I was messing with something. I originally went there to see what I could do with marine biology—that was my major—and I stayed for 2 months. It was so pretty, but honestly it was the same weather everyday. You would go, ‘Ohhh, it’s so pretty.’”  

I waited tables in college. I also worked for NOAA doing GIS mapping.”

— Mrs. Langley

“I waited tables in college. I also worked for NOAA doing GIS mapping. So you would take a satellite image and predict there should be an old forest there, and then create a map where the forest should be. We would then take the latitude and longitude and go to that place to see if the forest was actually there. But sometimes you would see that the forest had been destroyed, or maybe there never was one in the first place. It was hard though because we could not do any analysis with the information,; you could just create the data. Then I did substitute teaching, and I was like, ‘Oh, I like this!’”  

Q: Why did you become a teacher?

“I had been a substitute teacher and liked it. Also, both of my parents were teachers. I never thought that I wouldn’t become a teacher. For a little while, I wanted to do physical therapy because I tore my ACL one time. There weren’t MRIs back then, and the University of Tennessee orthopedic surgeon did my knee. I wanted to be a philosophy and religion major too, and my parents were like, ‘What are you going to do with a degree like that?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know, but I like it.’ So they told me to change my major! There were no marine biology majors in any colleges in Tennessee, so I was able to come to the College of Charleston and pay in-state tuition to study it. But my lifetime goal is to go back and get a world religion degree, so maybe I can work in a hospice that can serve every religion.”

Q: What is your favorite class to teach?

“I really like Chemistry because when you are teaching electron configuration, for example, at first the kids’ faces are like, ‘I don’t even know what you are talking about.’ Then they start to get it and say, ‘Oh! I get it!’

AP Environmental is fun, but there are so many variables to having a solution or putting your finger on the problem, and it can be hard for people to agree.”

Q: What are some memories from the old campus that you have?

“It really was the wild west (@ Mr. Johnson). It was my first few years of teaching. I remember kids coming up to the windows and going, ‘Let us in!’ Back then life was different in schools. There was more trust and also more fun. We can’t have as much fun today in schools because of society. We also used to have to walk to this broken down lecture hall type place that was probably a good block-and-a-half away. It was hard to corral everyone. Back then, a lot of teachers smoked too. I didn’t, but many went to their car to smoke during breaks. Also, teachers used to perform to introduce themselves; every subject would do something interesting. The science department would walk in with lit heads, English teachers performed Grease, and the math department had a song too. In general, it was a lot more laid back. Kids worried less about making A’s, and honestly it was kind of nice.”

Q: What would you have told your younger self and your current students?  

“I would tell my students to focus on the learning, not the grade. Focus on the application, not the memorization. To my younger self, I would say that life is just a journey, and it’s gonna be okay.”