Saturday, April 28, 2018


     I was a t...Yes you know this familiar start to  post of mine.

      I took a one year teacher training program in 1957-58. The training was very basic. There was also a six week practicum in the program. We took many courses but they were brief. Everybody got the same course: primary methods, reading, art, music, phys.ed. administration, classroom organization... Discipline was emphasized. Did I say discipline was emphasized? Yes , I did. 

      These were the days when discipline was strict. Classroom control was everything. Anything fast and dirty was used to get these goals. School trustees were only concerned about discipline...good behavior. They didn't seem to get learning strategies and achievement. Terrible things were d
one: strap, cane, shaking, shoving, slapping, pulling hair...awful things.

     Since I got half my education in the 40's, I was exposed to the discipline regime.

     I got the strap  but I well remember one and why I got it. This is the classroom and the teacher. when I look back at things this lady was an excellent teacher. I'm the innocent little fellow in the middle line from the teacher.

     In the one room schools the teacher went to his/her house to eat lunch and the students ate their lunch in the classroom without supervision. This worked fine 99.9% of the time. Somehow or other WWWX broke out one noon hour. For some reason or other we started throwing chalk brushes. The fight became intense and was it ever fun until the teacher walked in. Some of us were so intent in the activity that we didn't see the teacher. I was one of them.

     The teacher was very angry and we were sent to the cloakroom and soon she came in with the strap and we caught it. I was angry. We were having fun. Most of all , some of the people who were quick enough to see the teacher didn't get strapped. Did I stop doing stupid things? Well no. I still haven't stopped doing dumb things. 

    So I started my teaching career and the first part of it I emphasized good behavior. Many rants and raves occurred. One student even got the strap.

    Over the years and about mid career I gradually changed. I could see that ranting and raving sometimes caused more harm than good and in most cases didn't help the situation.

     I deliberately went low key. The adrenaline level was lowered. Problems that could have happened sometimes didn't happen. I rarely yelled. If I did yell, I sometimes heard, "He never yells.We better be good!" I used eye contact, hand motions ...low key stuff. Sometimes sterner methods were necessary. 

    So about mid career, I had learned some different strategies and how to apply them. We were given many professional in services. These strategies lowered stress and I went home at the end of the day in a much better mood.

    So I guess you could say that I had a gradual epiphany.