Willoughby's Former Students

Willoughby's Former Students

Did you have Willoughby as a teacher? What do you remember most about his class? What was the FUNNIEST thing you remember from his class?

Operating as usual

Photos from Willoughby's Former Students's post 07/05/2024

A 10th grader 42 years ago had a World History lesson about castles…
He went to the library (public not school) and checked out every book he could find on medieval architecture.
One of his friends had won a 35mm camera, but didn’t know how to use it, so our intrepid builder traded him lessons in photography for manual labor. (He didn’t know much more than the other kid, but checked out a few books and stayed a chapter ahead of his buddy.) (OH! This also became his profession (professional photography) and he used it to tour castles around the world later in life)
As the years went by, he would barter, buy, and trade services for labor, tools, engineering, or anything else he needed, but couldn’t supply himself…
He BUILT a CASTLE in the middle of Tennessee! (Based on one from Austria).
It’s not done yet… but it sure is cool… oh and yes, that’s a Batmobile, Darth Vader, and several other incongruities.
Oh… for those who don’t know… that’s Barb and my daughter Brittany. (Now you are almost up to speed).


Our house is about 1/2 mile from the High School here in bucolic Cornersville…
As the eclipse is happening we can hear the kids in the stadium yelling every time there’s a break in the clouds.
What fun!
Sun looks like the crescent moon right now.
We are not going to get totality. Too far to the South. But it’s still cool.
No earthquakes or locust swarms (yet).


Haven’t posted on here in a while… and no, I’m not dead (yet).
Been a rough 365 days, but now things are FINALLY beginning to swing the other direction.
Tomorrow I start the next phase in my life… I start at the Post Office delivering rural mail here near my home in Tennessee.

Not sure what to expect. Don’t even know what questions to ask. BUT have an insane feeling that this just might work out.

For all of you that were my students “back in the day”, thank you for the memories. I’m blessed beyond belief by some of the nice things you post, email, and text me. Your well wishes and prayers for me and my family have kept me going these past 12 months.

I’m not sure I’ll post exactly what happened. Not sure you even care. But it’s over now. The past is the past and it can’t be changed.

Love you all, wishing you the best. Goodnight for now.


This 9/11 I’m thinking back to 2001.

We were in class at Englewood as normal. I believe it was Psychology class.

A student came into class (late) and said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Being a bit of a nerd, I knew that the Empire State Building had been hit in the 40s but wasn’t sure how that could happen now… maybe a general aviation (small plane), but a large cargo or passenger plane? Nah. Not with radar, auto pilot, etc.

We had a tv, so we turned in the news and watched the reporting from New York… “terrible accident”, “major incident”, etc but all the reporters seemed… unsure. In class we discussed autopilots, flight corridors, etc until one of my kids said “Hey! Look! They got some video of the crash!” I turned just in time to watch the plane crash into the tower… but as we watched a quick rewind, we noticed the smoke coming from the FIRST tower… 2 planes had now hit the towers. This was no accident.

Later that day we heard the name Osama bin Laden for the first time. Who he was, and what he had to do with all of this would take a week or so to sort out. Oh! He had tried to blow the towers up in 1992! I remember that! What an idiot attempt!

My kids had been looking forward to trick or treating at Regency Mall. Cancelled. Cancelled football games, and Disney shut down because of terrorist threats. Shoe Bombers! People putting explosives in their SHOES!

Then the mess with the 1-95 sniper and Anthrax mailer (a few months later). What a couple of years those were.

Photos from Willoughby's Former Students's post 01/09/2023

Ok childrens (chitlans) sit down and listen to a little story… (yea! STORYTIME!)

Many, many, many years ago, long before the surface of the Earth cooled, students would give me their school pictures…
EVERY time I told them to write something on the back… it doesn’t mean anything unless you do… AND to sign them LEGIBLY.

When asked WHY they had to do such a strange and abnormal thing as my request, I would say “Because I’m NOT going to read this right now. I’m going to save these up, and when I retire I’ll read what you said ALL those years ago (please don’t write anything non-PG!)”

After 3 or 4 years of this, the stack of photos thrown into my “junk drawer” was too large for a rubber band, and students would raid my desk and pull them out to look at them (much to my chagrin a few of them were damaged, lost, and mutilated beyond saving). So I decided to put them on poster board, and, at the end of the year, laminate the board so they wouldn’t be lost/damaged.

About 2 years later I was needing something for a bulletin board, and the posters fit nicely, so I hung them up. They were a hit.

Sadly, I left the classroom for “activities director” and stopped getting photos, so I stopped the “tradition” after only a few years.

Oh… just so you know… I did get pictures and such from kids after that… I just didn’t put them On signs any longer because the senior portraits became… blasé.

Guess what I found! Yep… so for the first time in 15(?) years… I present to you…
My student’s Senior (and a few other) portraits!

I think they are high enough quality that you can zoom in (if you are so inclined)… if you want to know what’s on the back of one… send me a note… I’m going to be CAREFULLY removing them from the poster over the next few days… I’m retired now, so it’s time to read what you little stinkers said to me all those centuries ago!!


A quick word…
For those of you who wrote letters for me… THANK YOU! I read them and, on more than one occasion, teared up. The lawyer was impressed, and showed them to both the DA and the Judge. They worked.
I had to pay a fine, but did not have to plead innocent or guilty. The charge stays open for 6months, but (if I behave myself) it will be removed from my record completely. No arrest on record, no charges, no sentence. It’s gone.
Not the BEST outcome, but very nearly.
To be clear (several of you have asked, and many more may have wondered) I was NOT accused of anything sexual. It’s sad that in todays world that’s where our head goes when we hear a male teacher was arrested.
So… I think I’m done teaching.
I’ve applied at the post office as a mail carrier so we will see if that pans out. If not… Walmart Greeter? Who knows.
Thank you again for the letters, emails, and prayers. All were read and felt during this nasty time in my life.


Thank you, those of you who wrote me a letter.
Those of you who are wanting to, but haven’t yet, I have a bit of a deadline. I have to get them to the lawyer very soon.
Please send them ASAP to Barb or myself.
[email protected]
[email protected]
Or 335 Tarpley Ave. Cornersville Tn 37047.


Thinking lofty thoughts this morning…
A little over a year ago one of my US History students asked about what was going on in Ukraine.
I tried to simplify a complex geo-political event into something a bunch of bored 11th graders could understand… basically “The Russian Republic is trying to recreate the old Soviet satellite system by either political, economic, or militaristic means. Ukraine got its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union, and is main bread basket of Eastern Europe. Russia had pipelines for their oil fields going through Ukraine… oil prices went up, Ukraine wanted a cut of the money, so started taxing the oil flowing through their country. Russia annexed Crimea, then got 2 parts of the Ukraine to rebel against the government and start their own independent countries. Putin has now invaded the Ukraine under the guise of rooting out N**I sympathizers in their government.” (Remember this was like… March of 2022.)
I said at that time that I thought this would be a short, bloody, and violent war. Ukraine was David without a sling, Russia was Goliath with a machine gun. Boy was I wrong.
Whatever your political position on this war, just THINK about what we learned because of it. For all of my life I’ve seen the Soviet Union and Russia as one of our main competitors. The Russian Bear was big, slow to react, but once moving very powerful. The war has changed my mind.
Russia is a paper tiger. I like the statement made by the secretary of defense the other day, “We believed that Russia had the second most powerful army in the world, now we see that it has the second most powerful army in Ukraine.”
Our 4th gen fighters (F-16s) may turn the coming counter-attack. Russia is so scared of them that they have said NATOs delivering those fighters to Ukraine would be a “vast escalation of the war” (ie “don’t do it our we may have to go to war with NATO”). We are currently flying Lightnings (6th gen fighters) and F-18s (5th gen)… if they are worried about F-16, what can they do against those??
The Soviets blew their military budget for the last 10 years on hyper-sonic super missiles that no one could defend against… then our 20 year old US tech Patriot Missle System shot them down…
So… long post, but here’s the payoff…
I was WRONG when I guess-ti-mated Ukraine being GONE in 6-8 months. I was also WRONG in overestimating Russia’s military.
BUT I do not back down is saying I’m for the Ukraine side of things. They may have had a corrupt government… shoot, they MAY be laundering money right now… but I still believe that Russia’s invasion was wrong, and that the Ukrainians have the right to fight back. I don’t want my son going over to fight, but IF we are to get to involved, let’s pick the best team.


Sorry I haven't been on in a while... Started a new job as a JUNIOR HIGH TEACHER!
That went about as well as you would suspect...


A student has accused me of "Offensive Touching"... and I've lost my job because of it. Worse yet, I've got a court date for this MISDEMEANOR.

Here's where you can help (if you wish). I would like to present to the judge some letters detailing how I relate to the students. Could you send me (or my wife) a letter saying how you were treated, or how you saw me treat other students as I was your teacher? Were you bullied, threatened, etc.? Did I treat people of color differently than others?

The court date is July 11th. So... prayers for my wife and I would also be greatly appreciated and coveted during this time.

I am ashamed to have put myself and my family through this. I don't think I did anything wrong, but shouldn't have put myself in this predicament. I'm hoping the judge will either throw out the case, or expunge my record so that I MAY be able to teach again.

My address is 335 Tarpley Ave, Cornersville TENNESSEE 37047, and my email is [email protected]

Thank you.


Year 36 in a new state, new city(?), new school.
Oh… new house, new subject, new set of dress codes, standards, etc, etc, etc.
1st day was a half-day. Kids came in, sat in classes for 30 minutes, then rotated until time to head home.
I like it!
AND I’m only teaching 4 (YES F O U R) classes each day!!! Be jealous Fla teaching peeps!


Great get together with some former students and past and present faculty. Lots of laughs, a couple tears (of joy!) and great rememberences.

Sarah even bought my family supper (she REALLY didn’t need to do that after driving all of that way!!). That’s one of the very few times a student has EVER bought my lunch!
So grateful for all of the well wishes, prayers, and wonderful statements you have been gracing my page with. I am unworthy, but loving it.

No one gets into teaching for the money (if you are… STOP. Wrong job.), they get into it for … well… I can’t speak for everyone else, but I got into it 1) because I HATE stupidity. I wanted to spread a little knowledge and make the world less stupid. 2) sometimes the kids just get it. The light goes on in their eyes. They connect with something you’re saying. THAT’S the paycheck. 3) my wife was going to be a teacher and if I wanted to spend time with her in college (since I failed at my first major) I decided to give teaching a whirl (so ACTUALLY it’s all HER fault!).

Anyway… let me say it again from the bottom of my heart, there tonight or not, posted something or not, THANK YOU for 35 years of great memories.


Have a question for you whippersnappers…
I have several FCAT videos I (and Ms Harris, and several students and teachers) did in 2005.
They are on DVD.
Anyone know how I can put some of these archeological treasures on FB??

Please don’t suggest sending them to 1-800-yer-olde. Or tell me to go get a 14.95 cable from Radio Shack to connect my computer to my DVD player. (I use my Xbox One)


My final day at Englewood. A little video note for you.


I taught Leadership for about 5 years… one year the principal said we needed special ids for those kids in my classs who were running around “doing errands”.
Suzi was a Bosnian and the Junior class president… we started teasing her about not knowing the difference between Albania and Bosnia (that WE didn’t know the difference). I metioned that the Communist leader of Albania had once told his people that Americans were so poor they didn’t own a goat.
This became a running joke, and this the ID was born. An inside joke that only we understood. Kids thought it was a Ram!


Cleaning out my classroom…
I remember Clark (my blue fish), but who was the “fish feeder”? Can’t remember!

Photos from Willoughby's Former Students's post 14/06/2022

Me and my desk. Several APs tried to get me a new one, but that’s the desk I got my 1st day at EHS, and it’s the only one I ever had.
Some students “decorated” it for me from time to time… it was marked “Army Surplus 1958” (the year EHS was built)… LOVED that desk.


35 years apart. 1st day in the job (my OFFICIAL DCPS ID) and my LAST EHS ID.


After 35 years my career at Englewood has finally come to a close officially.

Or, as I like to think of it, I’ve FINALLY graduated!

Last day was Driver’s Ed… what a trip it’s been.

Thank you to ALL my students. You made the trip a great one.

Some stats:
Average year is 180 days… x 35 = 6,300 days of teaching, or 46,179 hours.
Average # of students… wow… that’s hard! Some years I had 18 in a class, others I had 35… so.. 25? 6 classes per day… roughly 5,250 students.
Friends, “favorite” students… countless!


Moved my desk… found this “fairy ring” (it’s a real thing… look it up!).


This popped up on my personal page… if you can, please think about coming. If we don’t stick together, we’ll surely fall apart.


Not sure where my post went… but… if you’re interested…
Posted some photos of an OLD program from 1994 Regional Wrestling…
In an album… let me know if you want to see it and can’t… I’m old, and this technology stuff…

Photos from Willoughby's Former Students's post 27/05/2022

Wrestling Photos of the program. Sorry about my hand writing. Sitting on bleachers using your knee as a table and trying to keep track of 9 yea-hoods will mess up your writing.


Found these wrestling pages from 1994.
Nah Spiwak, Bryan Wade, Scholfield, Grooms… lots of good people…


Not sure how to post this…
First of all… Happy Easter!
Secondly some news… nothing is set in stone, but things are moving in a direction that will separate Englewood and myself.
We’ve lost the lease on our house… you KNOW how crazy rentals and mortgages are right now… so the next place we move will probably be the LAST place we move (God willing).
Put in my transfer papers (that was painful), told the principal (that hurt worse), and I’ve been applying around the county and in 2 other states (Tn and Ga).
God will open and shut doors for us. But the waiting is KILLING me! Never have been the patient type.
Regardless of what happens, Englewood is/was very, very good to me. Helped raise my kids… shoot… raised me!
Love to you all.

Welcome to Englewood Rams NHS's Fundraising Page 03/12/2021

Just got this email… I’ll just leave it here and see what you can do to help…

Esteemed Big-Hearted Colleagues!

National Honor Society is currently Running a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) which runs Light the Night. Donations are used to fund research to end Leukemia and help those who suffer from it. So far, a few of the alumni have stepped up to help raise $170, but I know we can do better than this, so I am coming to you! Any small donation would be an enormous help towards teaching the NHS kids how to fundraise for worthy causes. (They have been checking the website... on the first day (yesterday) they saw someone had donated and they got so very excited, it warmed my heart! )

If you can't donate, then you could also be a HUGE help to us by social media boosting us! When a member of the Class of 95 social media boosted us to the forum, someone donated $100 through the facebook donate button. (It doesn't show up on the Light the Night website, but I'm telling the kids about it and showing them on my facebook!)

Here is the link to donate : https://pages.lls.org/ltn/ncfl/Jacksonv21/EnglewoodRamsNHS

Thank you SO very much for everything you do for our students.


Katina Higgins
NHS Sponsor

Welcome to Englewood Rams NHS's Fundraising Page Light The Night Walk The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk funds treatments that are saving the lives of patients today. LLS is making cures happen by providing patient support services, advocating for lifesaving treatments and pioneering the most promising cancer research anywhere.


As we near Thanksgiving (Lord I am thankful for the days off!!) I am contemplating the things I’m thankful for.
God has given me a good life,
A good wife,
2 great kids,
And a steady job.
Here’s where I had to stop and do a self-check on the things I’ve said, and posted, over the last few months (some might say years)…

I want to take a second from my usual tongue-in-cheek, sarcasm laden, highl indignant normal posts to say something to YOU…
I am thankful for you. Yes I mean all of you. My ex-students and (I found out last week) my current students who are “ghosting” this page.

When I became a teacher (sometime soon after the surface of the Earth hardened), I looked on it as a temporary gig. 1, 2 years tops, then I’d move on to a better paying “real job”. My poor kids my first year!! They suffered so much… with SUCH poor teaching!
But then, I decided that since I wasn’t going to do it long, and since I wasn’t very good at it, I might as well start concentrating on the people… and all of a sudden it became a joy to teach.
You have helped me through some of my darkest days. Days when I not just didn’t want to teach, I didn’t want to live. I was going to list some of them… but that’s not how I do things.
You’ve shared some of your joys with me… your celebrations… your agonies. Not all of them. Not all of you. But enough to feel like I had to treat all of them with respect. Ok. I’m not big on that word. Now “fun”… THAT’S a word I like.

Many of you struggled in class. That’s ok. History isn’t for everyone. I struggle in math. Always! But you kept coming to class. Some of you slept in class. Ok. You may have worked late nights, or played video games until 3am, how do I tell? Some were the first kid to class almost every day. Maybe your class was next door, maybe you liked it, maybe not.

I see your faces in my current students. Hear your laughter when they walk the halls. Like ghosts of the past. I remember more of you than I care to admit… I’ve NEVER been good at names, but faces, stories, laughs… I remember.

I was “chatting” with my friendly neighborhood teacher next door yesterday and we both got a little jolt… we both had the same thought, at almost the same time… “what do we sound like to people who aren’t from here.” …
I’m sorry.
I love my job.
I love my students. (Not everyday in every situation… but I do (eventually))
I appreciate all the kind things my former students post, and email, and say to me. It makes me embarrassed because I know how FAR from the truth your kind words are. I’m just a guy. Doing a job, and not really doing it as well as others. YOU are what makes me special.
I apologize for this post in advance. I’m not going to edit it… not going to reposition the paragraphs so my “stream of consciousness” type of typing makes more sense. It’s just straight from the heart this day. NOW for the most important bit…

This Thanksgiving KNOW that YOU are loved and remembered by at least 1, old, addled, gray, fat, irreverent, sarcastic, sloppy, pretender of a teacher.


Update on the Raines car thing…
My friend went back Wednesday, thinking he would use the 2 cars that had lost mirrors on the range, and a car he borrowed from EHS as the street car.
He contacted our boss, and was told that 2 cars were taken for repairs, but the 2 others were still there. Assumptions can be quite wrong sometimes when dealing with bureaucrats.
When he got to Raines, he went to the Coordinator there who ALSO assumed the 2 cars that were taken were the undeliverable cars… he was ALSO sadly mistaken.
When they both went back to the range… still sitting in piles of broken glass, we’re the 2 cars with the smashed windshields. The 2 cars with broken side mirrors were gone.
So… another day wasted.
Working for DCPS is always an experience.


Friend of mine does Driver’s Ed at Raines… it’s a bit of a drive… the situation isn’t perfect, but he feels like he’s assisting the community.

We (every Dr Ed program in town) got 3 NEW cars this last year… first in several years… 2021 Chevy’s… not plain Jane’s either… pretty nice cars… even have a few bells and whistles…

The range at Raines is on the North side of the school… last stop before the road… farthest from the office, cameras, and security…

Sometime between Wednesday night last week and yesterday, some loser took a cinder block and tried to pitch it through the windshield of one of the cars. When that didn’t work, they took it and smashed 2 of the side mirrors off 2 other cars… still not happy they threw it through the rear passenger window of a 4th car where it landed in the back seat. I’d attach pictures, but I don’t have any… sorry… you’ll just have to take my word for it.

We have to report this to our boss… HE wasn’t happy (as you would probably expect)… he even called the police (not the school police, the REAL police)… not a lot to be done (so they say)…

Now a underserved sector of our city is even less served, a good man is out of work that he did to help others, and 25 teens aren’t learning driving skills.



Finally happened. After 20 years of eating soup in my class for lunch… heating it in an old microwave behind my desk… I had a major spill.
Picture this… Microwave is about eye height…
Chili today… good old cheap Hormel Chili with the red fat blob on the top…. 1980s microwave bowl with the plastic lid to prevent splatters… but it also traps the steam, heating the chili quickly and evenly… yum!
My desk spread with the lesson plans, worksheets, and such odd and ends that accumulated over 35 years… me feverishly working on the plans for tomorrow… I’m going to be absent on a PD workshop…
Bell dings… “Great!” I think, being a little peckish… “Time for Lunch! But I must hurry! The kids will be retuning in less than 30 minutes!”
I quickly open the door, and with a hand towel, remove the (now steaming) bowl of chili.
But I move too quickly and the lid pops open slightly releasing a burst of steam… scalding my “poor little fingy”… I start… chili now slips over the edge.. I try to recover… towel slips…

Chili con floor.
And shoes.
And pants…
And… somehow… shirt.
But! Beam of sunshine, I did block the computer, papers, and stuff for my kids tomorrow.
Now to teach 30 freshmen while looking like a homeless person and smelling like a chili dog.

And people wonder why I say you just won’t understand the “joys” of teaching.

Oh… update… have a parent conference after school.

Update… x2… I think my smell drove them away. They didn’t show for a conference THEY requested. Love it! Bring on the chili!!

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Videos (show all)

Willoughby’s last day.
35 years apart. 1st day in the job (my OFFICIAL DCPS ID) and my LAST EHS ID.