Educator still connecting with students
MARTINS FERRY — Mary Mossor loves the teaching profession.
She loves it so much that she is finishing her 48th year as an educator. Moreover, the Weirton resident has no plans to retire in the near future.
Mossor has spent all but one year of that elongated career with the Martins Ferry City School District. She said she has enjoyed each and every day while influencing thousands of students in a positive way.
Mossor spent the bulk of her career as a special education teacher. She has, however, taught a little bit of everything with the Civil War heading the list of her favorite subjects.
“I love the classroom. I really enjoy learning along with my students,” Mossor said. “I love my students. I also have a very understanding husband.
“I have been blessed with being able to work with great people. Everyone gets along with each other here at Martins Ferry. I have enjoyed all the superintendents and principals I have worked under,” the Follansbee High graduate added. “Mr. (Bill) Pratt was my mentor here. He was a tremendous teacher.”
Mossor’s presence within the Martins Ferry schools system has been appreciated to the point that a plaque was erected on a wall outside a classroom dedicated to her in Martins Ferry Middle School, expressing the district’s appreciation for her dedication and the constant inspiration she has provided to students and staff alike.
“Mary has been my second mother and a grandmother to our students. She is very caring and kind to our students. She is willing to talk to them and give them advice,” language arts teacher Rebekah (Ellis) Shirley said. “Our students know how genuine she is. They know they can talk to her about everything.
“Mary still gives advice to teachers. She is who I learned from,” Shirley added. “She is a special teacher and a very special person.”
Mossor, who graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville and later added a master’s degree from Duquesne University, offers this advice to teachers.
“You must stay current with your students or you will get lost,” Mossor said. “You also must enjoy your job. You cannot make it drudgery.”
“We taught together over 20 years and worked well together. We had so much fun with our students,” Pratt said. “We did a lot of neat things. We had a newspaper, TV station and did Civil War re-enactments. We did all kind of unique things, including poetry programs.
“Mary is upbeat and very intelligent. She brings great passion to teaching,” he added. “The kids just love Mary. She has a great rapport with them.”
Mossor brings three rules to the classroom for her students to follow: “No one talks when I talk. Don’t make any unnecessary noises or you will get my attention. And respect everyone,” she said.
While teaching envelopes much of her life, Mossor does find time to be active in the community. She is a member of the Weirton Women’s Club and the Weirton Library Board, as well as several other Hancock County organizations.
“I love to shop and go to the Amish country,” she added.
Her work in the classroom has drawn praise from Ferry school administrators.
“We are very fortunate to have such a caring, intelligent and dependable person as Mrs. Mossor working with our students. It is quite evident that she is in our profession for all the right reasons! Students know if you really care for them and once that is evident, it opens unlimited opportunities to learn,” Superintendent Jim Fogle said. “With that being said, students know not to cross the line with her, because she runs a tight ship. I cannot thank Mrs. Mossor enough for her tireless dedication to the Martins Ferry City School District.”
Those sentiments were echoed by middle school Principal Mike Delatore.
“When we moved into the new school 10 years ago, I had my first opportunity to work with the eighth grade teachers. It didn’t take long to realize that Mrs. Mossor was a special teacher. She has a rapport with the students that truly makes her one in a million. She has a unique ability to relate to anyone and make them welcome and comfortable,” Delatore said. “Eight years ago, when the time came for her to retire, I selfishly tried to persuade her to put it off. She informed me that she would like to continue as a substitute teacher. Little did I know that she would work almost every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow, driving down Route 7 from Weirton. We are extremely lucky at the middle school to have someone of her caliber fill in without missing a beat in the classroom.
“She arrives early, stays late and comes to all of the eighth grade student council extra-curricular activities. Last week she worked in the day and came back at 10 p.m. to spend the night at our lock-in which ended at 6 a.m.,” he added. “Last year, students and staff wanted to honor her in a special way, by naming a middle school classroom in her honor. We raised $2,500 and now an eighth-grade classroom has a plaque thanking Mrs. Mossor for her dedicated service to the children of our community. Teaching is not Mrs. Mossor’s profession, it is her life. Just ask anyone who knows her.”
With such a lengthy teaching career, highlights are aplenty for Mossor. When asked what stands out after all these years, she didn’t hesitate.
“When I see a child get it, when it makes sense, that is my joy,” Mossor beamed.
And what does the future hold for Mossor?
“It’s all been good. It’s been great here at Martins Ferry,” she offered. “I want to continue teaching here for as long as I can.”