Tender Teacher

Sharing stories about my personal and professional life as a teacher.

Forties – School

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Downtown Marietta, Ohio along the Muskingum River

Image via Wikipedia

I started to school in 1948.  Just want to try to paint a picture of what school was like way back then.  First of all, I think it’s important to mention that I liked school.  I went to an old school that was a two story brick building that looked very substantial.  It was built at the confluence of two rivers in Ohio, where the lazy Muskingum emptied into the beautiful Ohio.  It was a peaceful and educational spot, but the school had been flooded many times, and it had to be replaced when I was in the fifth grade.  The flooding had taken its toll on the coal fired boiler, oiled wood floors, plaster, and foundation.

You entered the school into a huge hallway that had two opposing wide stairways going to the second floor, and the ceiling was probably 24 foot high in the center.  The classroom ceilings were about twelve foot high.   My first grade classroom was lined on one side with chalkboards, and two sides with windows that stretched from the hot water heaters to the ceiling.  There was a cloak room located across the front of our room where you placed your coats, boots, and lunches.  You marched in one side door, placed your items where they belonged, and came out the door on the opposite side.  It was an imposing place.

Our wrought iron and wood desks and seats were attached to the wood floors with big screws, and the back of your seat was attached to the desk behind.   There were no adjustments for size.  Luckily, I was of average size, so they were comfortable for me.  I could appreciate that seating arrangement years later when I taught school, and a few restless children could move their chairs and desks around, and make a lot of noise which interrupted class for all the other attentive students.

My worst memories include walking by the huge black coal furnace in the basement to the lunch room.  I could feel the heat, and hear the fire roaring.  I can remember having to summons up courage to make that trip.  And then there was the time when I was turned around in my seat with one arm back on my desk, and whack, I felt like my fingers had just been sliced off.  My teacher had enforced the rule that you face the front, with a ruler!  Needless to say, there weren’t many discipline problems in those days.   If the class became too noisy the teacher would just quietly take out the paddle (which almost never was used), and she/he put it on her/his desk.  I can remember the room becoming silent, and everyone getting back to work.

One of my best memories is going to the board to do work.  Everyone loved going to the board, and they had their hands up begging to be chosen.  It was a wonderful way to keep everyone’s attention, and to give attention to individuals.  AND then there was the day I went to school and my art picture was hanging on the bulletin board (along with all the other children’s), and I felt so proud when the teacher told us how nice they were.   Another fond memory is of playing on the playground at three recesses each day that the weather was good enough.  There were so many games to learn such as: Mother May I, Jacks, Hop Scotch, Red Rover, Jump Rope, Fox and Geese, and of course, Hide and Seek, and It.  We got lots of exercise at those three recesses during our first through our sixth grade years. The change of pace and healthy exercise cleared our minds, and we entered the classroom ready to learn again.

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Written by kjskjp

September 7, 2010 at 2:30 am

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