Firestone’s on Fire



Linda Gaye Myers Firestone is known as one of the most hated teachers at A-TECH. When students are asked to describe her, they may say she’s a bad teacher who puts stress on her students. Students are not always on Firestone’s side, but she has given me the chance to get to know her a little better and I have found that there is more to her than what meets the eye.

She grew up in a close family made up of six children and two parents at home. Firestone has a total of 12 nephews and nieces now, along with 8 more grand nephews and nieces.

Firestone said, “They make life extra special.”

Her parents have since died, however, she still has a memory of walking into the kitchen after school to find her mother baking cookies where they would then sit and talk about their days together.

“Their legacy is that they built a family that still loves and likes each other and gets together as often as possible,” said Firestone.

Firestone went to Ohio State University after high school, her major being forest industries management before switching to environmental interpretations. She then went to Miami University, where she started her Masters in education, and then switched to the University of Wyoming where she got a Masters in range management, and joined the Teacher Leisure program. From there, she went on to Colorado State University to continue with her teaching license. She also did some courses online in technology specialty with Southern Utah University. She had taken many science courses.

“I prefer to focus on academics,” Firestone said.

Firestone’s work experience started off with babysitting. From there it went to working at McDonald’s, then painting bridges and trash cans for Ohio Department of Transportation. She then went on to being a park ranger to an interpretive naturalist, leading then to range technician and flight operations specialist. After she left that job, she went on to research assistant and then rangeland management specialist. During the time she was a research assistant she was also in the Army National Guard, and was assigned to a unit in Cheyenne because she wanted to serve her country.

From that job she became a teacher in Colorado working at The Village School, a school for kids who were expelled from the other schools in the area. She taught Biology, Chemistry, Geoscience, and World History. Later, she became a teacher in Nevada.

“Once I started student teaching I fell in love with teaching high school and I never went back to the federal government” said Firestone. “I’ve been teaching ever since.”

Firestone had first worked as a teacher in Nevada at Bonanza High School, and then stopped teaching there when her husband became ill. She had a friend who worked at A-TECH that gave her the information that they were in need of a new biology teacher. She went in for an interview and got the job.

“I hoped to teach people how to love the environment and take care of it.”

Firestone wants people to be able to make up their own minds and think for themselves. In the process of teaching, she wants the environment of her classroom to feel like groups of people accomplishing work and figuring things out.

“I try to teach them well,” Firestone said. “Then after that I try to make sure they know they have opportunities to make up work.”

She tries to give instruction and later stand back and let the students interact. She’ll step in when the students have a question or have some trouble. Her idea is to be more hands off with a hands on activity because, she believes it’s more effective. She wants people to learn from trial and error as she believes the only way to really learn is to do.

Firestone’s classroom consists of table groups of four because she believes it mimics life more.

“When you leave the four walls of the school, you’re gonna work with people you don’t like, or who don’t work as hard as you.”

She created her teaching style because she tries to help her students become more successful down the road. She said, “I don’t care if they like me or not but I do care if they learn.”

Firestone manages to find ways to encourage her students as much as she can. She supports their decisions and helps however she can. She believes “there is no one way to do anything.”

“I think any vision you have for yourself that’s healthy that you can do, let me know how I can help.”

Firestone  often inspires strong emotions in the students she comes in contact with, whether they like or dislike her intensely.

“The odd thing is that a lot of those students who did not like me later wrote me letters about how they appreciated my teaching style in the classroom and they realized how I was just trying to help them learn and think for themselves,” said Firestone.

She does not want students to rely on being told what to do but to be able to figure things out on their own. She does not have a lot of patience for meanness, laziness, or rudeness which she believes comes off as her being rude in return. She wants all her students to be successful in their lives and hopes they learn how to find things that are true, and how to be kind.

Firestone likes working with people who work hard, have open minds, and treat others the way they want to be treated.

Some accomplishments she is proud of include, “getting [her] masters degree, working for the National Park Service, working in the US Forest Service, working with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, working with the Bureau of Land Management, and lastly, changing careers at thirty-six years old and fulfilling [her] dream of becoming a teacher.”

Along with achievements, Firestone has also had many milestones that the norm for a human would be. She has also had a few that many others might not have known about or have had for themselves. Firestone graduated from college with a bachelors degree at age twenty, moved 1,000 miles from everything she knew to work for the National Park Service, then went on to work at a lot of different places as a seasonal employee before being hired by the Bureau of Land Management for her first permanent job at the age of thirty, and grew closer to her father after he became ill.

Firestone believes these events have given her empathy and helped her overcome homesickness and fear of failure. They have given her self-confidence and taught her skills that she has since been able to use to help others.

Firestone is known to her students in many different types of ways. Students love her as a teacher and appreciate all that she has done for them. She strives for excellence and only wants the best for her students.