The Sun News

Q&A with Bonnie R. Gehling

@BR Box Type bold lede colon:City of Residence: Byron

Occupation: Retired teacher

Question: You were a teacher for 37 years before retiring in 2008. When did you first decide to become a teacher?

Answer: I always knew, more so in middle school and high school. I never considered another career.

Question: How many of those years were spent teaching in Houston County?

Answer: Seventeen years. I taught at Pearl Stephens Elementary and Matt Arthur Elementary.

Question: Did you teach more than one subject?

Answer: I taught health and physical education at each level. At the university level, I also taught in the teacher program as well as teaching some of the regular 101 courses. At the elementary school level, I incorporated sign language. Little kids can really pick it (up) fast, and they would go home and teach their parents.

Question: What was your favorite level to teach at?

Answer: I have two, the university level and the elementary school level. Sometimes there isn’t a lot of difference between the two. No matter what the level is, they all seem to have a fear of learning, because they don’t want to look like a fool. Nobody comes in wanting to fail. I want them to feel at ease with learning. Part of that is creating the right atmosphere. I incorporate this into my photography workshops now.

Question: What prompted you to teach photography?

Answer: I retired and missed teaching. There are so many people who have no idea how to use their cameras and want to learn. My friend Lynne Barta, of Lynne’s Gallery, started some workshops in Macon, and as we talked more about the workshops, we decided to set up a progression of workshops. You can learn all about your camera, then move on to learning about photo composition. These workshops satisfy my need to teach, and there isn’t a place that I know of that teaches progression. Last week was my first class.

Question: Have you always been interested in photography?

Answer: I have. I never got in depth with it until two or three years ago, when I took classes at John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina to learn more about it. What I learned prompted me to teach others.

Question: Have you won any photography awards?

Answer: Yes. I’ve won some nice awards at the national fair, but awards are not my goal.

Question: Do you prefer to photograph landscapes, animals or people?

Answer: I’m a nature photographer. My favorite is waterfalls. I like to photograph them in sections, so you can see the beauty in all parts of it and are not overwhelmed by the whole.

Question: Have you thought about teaching any non-photography workshops?

Answer: I want to hold debt management workshops. That is something else that I am passionate about.

— Stephanie Hays