Wednesday, September 16, 2020

EDUCATION OF A PRAIRIE BOY PART 4

      Well, it's taken me awhile to get in a classroom for more or less formal education. 

     I will unfortunately be looking at this from under a few different hats. Some of it will be through the eyes of a little boy. Some of it will be from and adult and some of it from a teacher's point of view. We all think back to our school days and remember when we were children. Things change as we gradually grow older. Sometimes what my brother and I remember are very different. The adult point of view comes from us and our view of children. I taught for 37 years. That's enough to skew any memory. I also did some teacher supervision and evaluation. Did I mention that I had many student teachers over the years. That really changes what's under the hat.

    The typical one room school had students in each grade from one to eight or even nine and ten.  The highest enrolment in my school was 17. When I left there were only six kids left in the school. The school closed the next year.

     In the one room schools the teaching strategy was to tell each class what to do in that period of time. That may have taken two or three minutes.The kids would read a chapter of whatever it was and then answer some questions. Math lessons were very brief and then get to work and do a page or two of arithmetic questions. The good teachers would have activities that involved the whole school at one time. An example would be music. The teacher spent the most time with the younger students as they were not independent.

     The good teachers arranged things so that kids worked together. Kids are very good at teaching each other.

    I started school in 1945. We had two teachers that year. A  very quiet lady took us to Christmas break and then left to get married. I don't remember much about her except that she was very quiet. A young guy came after Christmas to finish the year. He had just finished high school. I remember having a lot of fun when he was there. However, I did learn to read well. It was the year that the Dick and Jane series was introduced to our school so we had the old reading series as well as Dick and Jane.

    For gr. two my brother started school. We had a very  quiet introverted lady for our teacher. Again , I don't remember much. We probably didn't do anything much. I remember we got into trouble a few times as we forgot we were in school and acted like brothers who fooled around.

   There were some major events that took place each year. One was the Christmas concert. Much of December was taken to practice putting together the program. There would be songs by the whole group and then music from smaller groups. REcitations were a favorite. Small skits were put on. And yes if the school was any good at all they had a rhythm band. One thing that I'll never forget is that I got kicked out of the rhythm band. I probably couldn't keep the rhythm but the problem was that I was playing sticks and my brother and I decided to hit each other. Needless to say, the battle got carried away 

    Now life out of school was still going on. What we learned in school helped us to learn more from our daily experience.

    So I did finish grade two. And I promise that my next post will take me to Gr. 3.

35 comments:

  1. I’m really enjoying this series!

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  2. I always wondered how teachers manage to teach multiple grades in a one room school. I imagine a good one was hard to come by. I also marvel at schools of yester year, schools of today and churches; all of whom put on Christmas concerts and do such a great job in a short time of preparation.

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    1. Well, there wasn't much teaching. Independent kids did their own research.

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  3. The question is, were you and your brother hitting each other rhythmically?

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    1. Ah, good question. He had rhythm. I didn't.

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  4. I learned to read using Dick and Jane books, too. I still remember the pictures. You have some great memories, Red. :-)

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    1. we were like a big family. Big kids helped the little kids.

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  5. It is so interesting to read about your early school days. It surprises me how different they were from mine, just a few years later in a big city elementary school in New Jersey.

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  6. I went to a Catholic grammar school so we had David and Ann instead of Dick and Jane. Lots of religion to remember too! Were taught by nuns in the days of their full habits covering their heads and down to their toes! Some of the nuns were very young and very sweet but some could be awfully stern. I love your memories of school and how they have me thinking back to my memories. Thanks! Looking forward to more of the story!

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    1. In my career I found some very good teachers who were nuns.

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  7. My hubby was in a one-room school! Great tales.

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  8. Great stories and memories. Love this series, Red.

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  9. I can't recall my first and second grade teachers. I can recall the third grade teacher, who was old enough to have taught lessons to the Nazis in cruelty, and probably did. She was inclined to hit students with textbooks.

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    1. I met some of those who were physically abusive to kids.

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  10. My husband taught in a one room school in an isolated community on the south coast of Newfoundland. Fond and not so fond memories there.

    Isn’t it amazing how children learn to read? I remember when I realized what was going on and could actually read. A light went on in my life.

    Great memories and stories.

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    1. I also taught in a one room school for one year. I had 10 students.

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  11. My sister, two years older, started in a one room school, but by the time I started first grade. all of the little schools were consolidated into a new, big elementary school and most of us rode a bus out of the countryside to our small town.

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    1. Your population increased so consolidation took place. Our population decreased drastically and kids had to be moved great distances.

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  12. I love this series Red! I remember the Dick and Jane books very well. I have the most respect for the teachers that had to teach so many different grade levels at one time!

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    1. WEll, teaching may be too good of word. Organization and supervision were required.

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  13. I started school in 1948. We had the very same Dick and Jane, and much later on, in 2001, my four year old granddaughter learned to read from the very same books. She was not yet in school.

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    1. The dick and Jane series were used for a very long time.

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  14. Wow! What a memory you have. Neither my husband nor I have experienced the one room school house. It's hard for me to imagine how to teach so many different levels in one room. I did have Dick and Jane and actually enjoyed the series although it was later rather frowned upon as not authentic reading.

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    1. Well , you could call it teaching. It was mostly organization and supervision. Dick and Jane were too white and very middle class .

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  15. I bet the teacher wanted to separate you and your brother! Good memories Red:)

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  16. I wonder how kids learned anything when resources, teacher training etc were all so rudimentary. I'm thinking that, realistically, the bright kids got by with school and maybe some parental investment but the kids with any kind of issue probably didn't learn a whole lot. Illiteracy was easier to hide, those days

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  17. I really enjoyed this Red, you put me right in the classroom with you. Great memories!

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  18. In Part III I liked the reference to the "wind song" in your old wooden school at Esk. The idea of the wind creaking the building and the children being distracted by that natural force outside almost makes me want to write a poem called "Wind Song". Did the school have sails?

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  19. Your memories of your early school days are quite interesting to read. I can barely recall my high school days!

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