AN American teacher is reflecting on her time at Garsdale C.E. school.

The then Linda Michalek, now Willard, was a student teacher at the school in 1974.

The St Norbert's College, Wisconsin, student carried out part of her training in Sedburgh under a scheme by the University of Wisconsin.

She and husband Greg are now returning to the town nearly 50 years later, where she hopes to reunite with some of the people she met.

Linda, who lives in Chicago, kept diaries during her time teaching, which said: "In the fall of 1974, as a 21-year-old American student teacher, I got off the train in Sedbergh to find I was in the middle of a farming area with no one around but the cows in the pasture.

"The school was a one-room, 350-year-old school house, there were 15 children aged four and a half to 11. The bathrooms were outside and the schoolyard for the children was shared with the chickens.

"The children called me Miss Mike. I found the children to work beautifully with each other and were very polite. All the teachers were extremely kind to the children and knew their background and taught them individually.

"The education seemed quite practical and the children enjoyed coming to school. The children had a great awareness of nature which you could tell by their descriptive artwork."

Linda also spent time at Sedbergh Primary School in a class of 30 children and worked with the youth club.

She wrote at the time: "One day, three little girls came up and asked me for my autograph and one little girl would always follow me home. I really enjoyed working with these charming students. 

"I want to go home yet I don't want to leave Sedbergh and all the wonderful people.  I've never had a more valuable experience. Some day I will come back. There is not one thing that I would change - not even the lack of central heating."

Linda told the Gazette how: "In the past 49 years, I've got married, taught a variety of ages from four to 12 years, had five sons and eight grandchildren.

"I am at the point of my life that makes me go through old pics and experiences which led me to the cute little town of Sedbergh. I truly believe all the experiences we have along the way make us who we are today.

"I remember the people of Sedbergh were so genuine and kind to me. They made me feel so special inviting me into their homes. I will always look back on my time in Sedbergh fondly."

Anyone who remembers Linda or interested in meeting her while she is in Sedburgh in June can contact her on