Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Rookie

      I've been including odd photos at the end of my posts or else blogger sees fit to pick photos and I don't want them. So if I put my own photos in and blogger leaves me alone.

     Okay, the last photo happened to be me in my first year of teaching. You see it's the only school photo I have that's scanned! Because of comments on the last post, a post topic came into my head. The photo was a very poor scan of a picture.
  

     So I was reminded of my start in teaching. It was as many of the things that happen to me. I bumbled into teaching without any clear goals.

     I surprised myself by finishing high school in 1957. I never had a goal of finishing high school. I bumbled along from year to year and finally it was over. Many boys at that time dropped out of school in gr. 8 and stayed on the farm.

     When high school was done I had to think fast. I really didn't want to stay on the farm with my Dad. What could I do after high school. I decided to try teaching and if I liked it, that was it. If I didn't like teaching, I hadn't lost much.

     At that time you could take a one year program and then teach. I entered the program at age 17. The year was fun and very different for me. My high school class had eight students. There were 400 students at Teachers' College. The program included some basic methods classes. We had a very good class on teaching primary reading. There were some academic classes and a few fine arts classes. At  the end of the year we were given an interim standard teaching certificate. We could teach for three years and then we had to take more classes. 

     I found myself finished Teachers' college and looking for a job. As I'd gone to a one room country school this is a job I applied for. At 18 I was a teacher in a  one room country school house . Pretty scary! EH?Most country schools were being closed at that time.The school I taught at was on its way out. As some of you  noticed there were only 10 students. A school with just ten students was not economical to keep open. There were 3 grade ones, 2 grade two's and one each in grades three, four, five, seven and nine. I really liked teaching the grade ones.

     I had a very enjoyable year so much so that I decided right then that I would stay in teaching. The Superintendent was most supportive. Harry would quietly show up and stand in the doorway until I saw him. He'd give me the nod and I would go out on the steps and talk to him. He was checking that I was not having problems and give me a few pointers and a pat on the back. Sometimes he'd come and dismiss the kids for an hour and talk to me.

   My first year teaching is one that stands out over all the others. I often wonder how an 18 year old was able to give instructions for a year. The community were most supportive and good to me. They wanted me to stay another year but I had decided to enter university.


     Nine years earlier when I was in grade three in a country School. That country school just happened to be named Hiawatha!

33 comments:

  1. wow. that's really cool, red. stumbled, bumbled into it and you were a natural, obviously.

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    1. I wouldn't say natural but I worked at it.

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  2. Great old photos you should point out which kid is you in the last photo! Those kids all look happy in the first photo what a dream job only ten kids to teach! :)

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    1. I'm the little dark haired guy behind the teacher to her left. 10 students helped but you still had to prepare all classes even if there was only one kid.

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  3. This is so interesting., and so different from my entry into teaching in 1966. I had to have a BA as well as a teaching credential. I completed to practicums (student teaching) in my senoir year. I was hired right after college in the school where I had done my student teaching. My first call was a group of 30 fourth graders, many from a poverty stricken housing project. I did not have a mentor to look after me. It was sink or swim.

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    1. I had two 3 week practicums. The second teacher really set me up and made me.

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  4. What a heart-warming reminiscence. I can relate to it.

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    1. You jump in with both feet and keep moving!

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  5. Yes amazing, after one year of study, you were qualified to teach. Good you went to university too to get more education. Nice photos of the past, how time flies.

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    1. We qualified , but you know that an 18 year old is far from being a good teacher.

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  6. Stumbled into it and you were probably the type of teacher kids would love. Some people stumbled into it for the paycheck and should never have been teaching. I have read many of your posts about when you taught and would have loved to have you for a teacher. I have some olde photos like yours too. Boy, we were a different lot of kids back in those days, eh.

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    1. I had to be tough as there was always somebody who'd push the limits so you don't always make yourself popular. My lessons were somewhat boring. Yes it doesn't seem like that long ago.

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  7. Interesting how you didn't need the BA or BS degree.

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    1. There was a very short supply of teachers so this was one way to keep somebody in a classroom. Money was short. Teachers with higher qualifications cost money.

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  8. How interesting! I, too, loved teaching first grade!

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    1. I ended up teaching middle school for my whole career.

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  9. My husband speaks of those days. He was in a new high school in a small town, and the teachers were barely older than he was! Love your stories.

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    1. I can relate to your husband's experience. I had an 18 year old when I was 21.

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  10. How times have changed! I think in many ways this is one of the best ways for young people to find their calling. Obviously teaching was yours, Red. And you still continue doing it, right up to the present day! :-)

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  11. I taught 1st grade for 19 years and loved it. I can hardly believe you were only 18 when you started teaching. Then again, so was my mother. It boggles my mind, but then you were a natural and and obviously perfect for it. What a wonderful post! And you had to wear a suit?

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    1. Putting an 18 year old in a classroom was just nuts! We were not even remotely ready to handle a classroom. I had to wear a suit for at least 15 years. Then things relaxed and we could be more casual.

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  12. Fascinating. I also began my illustrious teaching career at the age of eighteen. To be truthful, I have often wondered how my life might have been if those thousands of hours of blood and sweat and tears had been devoted to a different occupation. By the way Red, were you second from the left on the back row of your own school picture?

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    1. I don't think we would have been satisfied doing less. I'm the little dark haired guy behind the teacher to her left.

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  13. I couldn't do that myself. Teaching at the university level is one thing, but I wouldn't have patience for kids.

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    1. In my day kids performed very well. There was lots of parental support.

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  14. I love these old photos. Each one has a story to tell. I think teaching was a perfect fit for you.

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    1. Well, not perfect but it was good.

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  15. I love the old pictures. Obviously, you were meant to teach. I would love to have had you for a teacher.

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    1. Well, don't get too hasty. I had to be tough. Those talkative girls drove me crazy!!!

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  16. Life and times... love reading about your teaching life.

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  17. This makes for a wonderful read Red. Thank you for sharing.

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  18. I love these photos! Imagine being a teacher at 18, and in a one-room school house no less!

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