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portrait of Gail Cummins Crader

Gail Cummins Crader

Teacher for 34 years

Bachelor's in Secondary Education and Master's in English

Graduated in 1969

Explain your career path

I graduated from Southeast Missouri State College in the summer of 1969. My first teaching job began in Scott City, Missouri. I was the tenth and twelfth grade English Teacher. Then my family moved to Plattsburg, Missouri, and I taught Composition I, II at the Maple Avenue Community College night classes. Then in 1985, I moved to Perryville. I taught eighth grade English classes for ten years. I shared the Christa McAuliffe Scholarship program called CPR (Comprehensive Program for Reading). In 1995, I began teaching sophomore English, World Literature and the Dual enrollment Writing Class at the Perryville High School. I completed the requirements for an English as a Second Language under the tutelage of Dr. Parsons. I worked with the TGUSA Japanese families. I would visit the homes of the Japanese families and help their Japanese children and the Japanese women with reading and writing of English. In the 1990's I taught Composition and Speech classes for the Higher Education System under the programs of Southeast Missouri State University and Mineral Area College. In 2006, I moved to Jackson, Missouri, and I finished my teaching career at the Jackson High School teaching College Writing and sophomore Language Arts. I was the Scholar Bowl Coach for Perryville and Jackson for a total of 15 years.

What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?

My major was Bachelor's in Secondary Education with emphasis on English and history. In 1975, I graduated from the Southeast Missouri State University with a Master's in English. I received a degree in English as a Second Language in 1996. The opportunity to attend college was a great event in my life and in my family's life. I always wanted to be a teacher. My experiences at SEMO enabled me to go beyond my expectations, for that I am thankful.

Why did you choose to attend Southeast?

I lived in Scott City, twenty miles from the campus of a College. I commuted daily with four other friends from my high school. As a group, we encouraged and helped each other with the college experience. Four of the five graduated from Southeast Missouri State University. We felt it gave us an opportunity to go beyond our expectations. I am thankful for that opportunity.

Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?

The classroom instruction was a driving force. I wanted to learn everything that I could. The friendships remained a constant in the process. The educational experiences were beyond my comprehension as a young person. Everything was grand. I so appreciated the opportunity. The first year and more, I had received the Presidential scholarship. This gift helped me; I was the third child of a family of six, and the first to attend college, much to the delight of my parents. Having the college near, I was able to fulfill my teaching dream.

Share your best college memory.

The first year of my college experience, my new friend from Marble Hill, Missouri, and I attended our first ever Homecoming on the campus. We had never experienced such fun activity.

What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?

During my time at Southeast Missouri, I appreciated the opportunity to voice my thinking, to organize my planning, to write, and to form friendships for a lifetime. I will never forget my first English Class during the summer of 1966. Dr. Hogan was a new instructor on campus, and I was enrolled in his writing class. He taught me to write with meaning and purpose. I so appreciated his directions for the first summer. It certainly gave focus for most of my teaching career.

Describe Southeast in three words.

Challenging, Enriching, Rewarding

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Golden Apple award at the Perryville High School---chosen by the staff 1999 Class of 1999 asked me to be the Commencement speaker at Graduation Christa McAulliffe , Co-award Southeast Missouri English Teacher of the Year 2005-2006

How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?

Well, today I am retired from teaching; but I am now the part-time curator and docent at the newly-formed Scott City Historical museum. I am one of the leaders for the Scott County Bicentennial in 2021. I have written many historical pieces for the museum, and I have submitted an essay for the Missouri 2021 biographies for acceptance about Edison Shrum, Historian.

What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?

I would advise students who want to be teachers, to learn as much as you can, love what you do, and make this world a better place for all students and classes.

What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?

I wish I had more experience with understanding the many different backgrounds and thinking of students. When I began teaching, I thought everyone wanted to learn like I did. My world crumbled my first year because I had students who did not like reading and writing. So I had to revamp my whole world to understand it was not the subject that was a priority, it was opening of the minds of students to invite them to want to learn about writing and the joy of reading.


Scully 411

College of Education, Health and Human Studies
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