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Marvin Martin taught elementary and then junior high school in the Village of Glencoe, Illinois. Later he volunteered in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he now resides. Many things made him a unique teacher, including theatre productions he directed with students (either with original play or adaptation he wrote), A/V presentations he made and showed, books-on-tape that he produced and then he played them while students read along, providing a learning environment before and after class, and traveling with students. He believed that much of education happened beyond the four walls of a classroom.
He provided a printed schedule every day, including a Peanuts cartoon, would play a current pop hit as part of a class he called “Expressions,” played a piece of classical music, presented a poem, and showed a work of art. He then showed one of his travelogs and finished with a recording of a humorous sketch which he called “Sounds Funny.” He took students for local travel/education trips called Big Events. He was well known for writing, directing and producing the sixth grade play each year (he directed 38 plays between 1958 and 1983).
For many years he taught every student who reached 6th grade at South School. In the last several years of his Glencoe career he taught every student in the school system in 7th and/or 8th grades. He taught in Glencoe for 40 years (1956-1996). Subjects included art, literature, poetry, science, history, theatre, and more. In many families he ended up teaching multiple siblings, and eventually even a number of children of former students. Having taught thousands of students during his career, he had a huge impact on the students, their families, and this legacy is also a notable part of the history of Glencoe in the second half of the 20th century.
- Total years teaching: 48
- Years teaching in Glencoe: 40
- Teaching career spanned across: 6 decades (mid 1950's to mid 2000's).
- Number of students taught: 1000's
- Main grades taught: Glencoe career was grades 6th-8th
- Populations taught in retirement: 2nd-4th and 8th grades (both gifted and learning disabled populations), autistic, ESL, adult literacy, and Sunday School
- Number of students in touch with since retirement: 100's (via email, Facebook)
- Number of books-on-tape he has made: dozens
- Number of slide-tape presentations: over 100
- Hours of narration on reel-to-reel: 160
- Number of slides: 10,000's
- Number of student theatre productions directed from 1958-1983: 38
- Number of books written, adapted, or compiled: 150
- Number of reviews written (films, plays, operas, concerts, etc.): 2000
- Number of students taken on major trips: 205 from 1961-1984
- Places visited with students: 45 States, 4 Canadian Provinces, the British Isles
- Number of major trips: 30 (including 15 theatre and sightseeing trips to NYC)
- Scores of Explorer Group Outings and weekend trips called Big Events
Instead of buying
a bright future
I decided, early on,
to give away
the treasures of my life,
in hopes that they might enrich
the lives of children.
I forgot about fame
and personal gain.
My own achievements
took a back seat
to the success I could bring
to other young lives.
I poured my energy
into the task.
I paid the price
of personal opportunities lost
to buy a better future
for other people’s children.
Was it the right decision?
as any decision can be.
"A teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops."
-Henry Brooks Adams
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