As a long-term substitute teacher for 8th grade English, Michael Pogue ’71 joins the ranks of nine fellow Cincinnati Country Day School alumni who now work at the school.
A veteran teacher of 30 years, Pogue talks about why he wanted to return, what he thinks is special about the school, and things he has noticed have changed…and have stayed the same.
What made you want to return?
I retired from public education two years ago and then home-schooled my grandchildren during the pandemic. This academic year was my first one without students in a long time, and frankly, I missed them so when I saw that CCDS had openings for both a full-time and a substitute English teacher, I was curious. I enjoyed my years here as a student, and both my children attended [Country Day] through elementary school. I was curious about what it would be like to come full circle and finish my teaching career here. Early in the interview process, I determined that subbing was a better fit for me than teaching full time, considering my age and energy (I graduated in 1971, after all!).
Where did life take you after college until now?
When I first got out of college (Trinity College & University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music), I went into business as a writer and creative director. After 10 years, I decided to create my own ad firm, which I ran for another five years. At age 38 I sold the company and enrolled at Xavier University, where I earned an MEd and my teaching license. At age 40, the Princeton City School District hired me to teach 8th grade English and I stuck around there for 28 years.
What is one thing you've noticed that has changed since you were a Country Day student?
Girls! We were an all-boys school in grades 7-12 back in ’71. Also, the student dress code has changed quite a bit! Back in my day, students wore coats and ties, which sounds a good deal swankier than it was. In reality, we each kept our one dress jacket and one tie in our lockers all year round. They frayed and we smelled. But, of course, with no girls around, who cared?
What is one thing you've noticed that has stayed the same?
Academic standards and expectations have always been an important part of the Country Day experience. The curriculum here pushes students to explore, discover their capabilities, and excel just as it did in the 1960s when I was a Country Day student. Our GOAT class of ’71 – with only 40 or so boys – produced seven doctors, seven lawyers, seven teachers, and seven ministers of various faiths. We even claim Jeff Spain in the ’71 class, need I say more?
What do you think is special about Country Day?
A lot! Small class sizes…truly talented and dedicated teachers and administrators…a caring, kid-centric environment…a collegial atmosphere among all staff…parents who remain involved throughout their kids’ education…students who are bright, motivated, and well behaved…and of course, lunch (heck, I’d sub here just to get the lunch!).