The unexpectedly profitable career
The field of education has been anything but linear or stagnant for Joseph Lloyd Eldredge. Although he and his wife were once concerned about the decision for Eldredge to pursue education and the income it provided, they now look at this career as profitable and enriching.
Eldredge retired from being a professor in the BYU McKay School of Education in 2009. He was recently honored at the McKay School’s latest Power of Teaching lecture for a remarkable and impactful 28 and a half years influencing future BYU graduates and educators.
“I have loved education,” Eldredge said. “I can tell you truthfully that if you love doing something, you are blessed. So in our case, we’ve had some interesting things happen in our lives, and education has been a very profitable thing, both spiritually and financially—something we never thought would happen.”
Eldredge pursued his education by earning his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from BYU in 1958 and then his master’s degree and doctorate in educational administration/curriculum from the University of Utah. He then went on to teach in several elementary schools in the Granite School District. Eldredge has also been a principal, educational consultant, superintendent, and a curriculum leader and educational administrator at the Utah State Board of Education.
What Eldredge has enjoyed most about being in the field of education is associating with people. He believes that he has learned much about people that he could not have learned in any other vocation.
“I have learned that all people are truly choice and valuable. They are worth knowing, and when we seek to understand them, our own lives are enriched in the process,” he said.
Eldredge worked in a variety of educational jobs over the years. He worked with young children, youth, adults, the gifted, the educationally disadvantaged, and the “underdogs.” He believes that being an educator is a sacred calling.
BYU and the McKay School have had a profound impact on Eldredge. Throughout his time at BYU, he has developed special friendships and created eternal relationships with students and the educators working there. He’s learned that teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in an educational setting made his classes more meaningful, and it’s influenced the way he has taught and still teaches.
While at BYU, Eldredge wrote and coauthored over 20 publications. Because of the research he did, the U.S. government acknowledged him as the “father” of dyad reading. Dyad reading involves the pairing of a good reader with a poor reader in a meaningful reading experience that improves the reading comprehension of both students. His studies have been included and referenced in national publications on reading and learning.
During the lecture, Eldredge confessed that he never planned on teaching at BYU. The invitation to come to BYU came when Eldredge was considering retirement and was already involved with teaching and consulting throughout the country.
“I was not going to come to BYU,” Eldredge said. “I was in a general authority’s office having an interview because I was asked to do that. During that interview, the Spirit touched me and said, ‘You go. Even though you take a cut in pay, you go.’ When I came [to BYU], I started to look at everything I was teaching by funneling it through the gospel. . . . That’s been one of the biggest educations I’ve had.”
By looking at education through a gospel lens, Eldredge has also observed the challenges facing educators and educational institutions. Students come to school burdened at all levels with personal problems and needs. While this may seem overwhelming to future educators, Eldredge is optimistic.
“On the positive side . . . I can think of no greater reason for a person to select education as a career. The potential for doing ‘good,’ in such situations, is greater than ever!”
Since retirement, Eldredge has remained involved with teaching opportunities and he and his wife, Cherie, have served as couple missionaries and temple workers.
May 13, 2016
Written by: Megan Bahr
Contact: Shauna Valentine (801) 422-8562