Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Joyce (Bird) Gordon ’58
Little did I know that Ms. Jensen, Office Practice teacher, during the 11th and 12th grade at Oakland Technical High School would have such an impact on my life. Of course we all thought she was tough (and she was), but for me it was always a challenge to “meet” her challenges and that I did. The importance of my doing well in my business classes was huge…it was my parents dream for me to one day work in an office…a work environment they looked up to, but what was not available to them in the 1950s.
Ms. Jensen’s assignments were on a contract basis. She would teach a group of skills, e.g., how to set tabs on a manual typewriter, how to increase your typing speed, how to create a business letter, personal letters using proper form and salutations and even thank you notes. Students were then given the contract and you completed the tasks at your own pace or when you got them perfectly correct and they had to be absolutely perfect…”almost” was not her style. Little did I know how far these skills…time management, organization, creative writing…would take me. I began my career as a secretary (immediately after graduating) for a very important business man in the Bay Area and then rose through the ranks of administrative positions at the University of California, ultimately becoming an assistant to the dean of a major business school. Ms. Jensen formed the foundation for my 50+ years of success and to this day I remember the things I learned in her class. Little did I know.