Retired first-grade teacher Tee Cowan, seated, recently visited Lander University’s Teacher Education Department and spoke with students. From left: Kathy Stevenson, teacher education instructor; Cowan’s son, David Cowan, of Orangeburg; and his daughter, Jennifer Cowan, an early childhood education major at Lander.
She walked into the classroom, placed her hands on her hips, and told students in a Lander University teacher education class, "Sit up, and get ready to work."
Those words of wisdom were spoken by Tee Cowan, now retired after 30 years as an elementary school teacher. She told the students, "I taught first grade for 29 years at Woodfields Elementary School and one year in fourth grade at Sharon Elementary School in Abbeville before coming to Greenwood School District 50. I was there when Woodfields opened in 1958."
Two of Cowan's three children and four of her seven grandchildren are schoolteachers. Granddaughter Jennifer Cowan, of Orangeburg, is an early childhood education major at Lander.
When asked about her fondest memory in teaching, Cowan said, "Every morning, I couldn't wait to get up and teach something new." She also emphasized the importance of reading. "If you can't read, you can't do anything else," she said.
Dr. Kathy Stevenson, a Lander teacher education instructor, had Cowan as her first-grade teacher. She said, "I remember how much emphasis she placed on reading, phonics and working hard. She is the reason why I became a teacher."
During Cowan's visit, Stevenson was presented an enlarged framed photograph of her 33 first-grade classmates and Cowan. Cowan influenced many individuals, and over the course of her career, she recalled many of her students who became teachers, doctors, lawyers, anesthesiologists and administrators.
Cowan's son, David Cowan, a sales supervisor at Superior Kia in Orangeburg, and Jennifer's father, accompanied his mother on her visit to Stevenson's class and Lander's Teacher Education Department.
Tee Cowan remains active at First Presbyterian Church in Greenwood and plays bridge. She was also an avid golfer at the Greenwood County Club.